Thu, Jul 22, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Police say `escapees' aren't spies, but can't be found

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The police said that the 17 "escaped" Chinese "tourists" are not spies, although they are still trying to locate the rest of the 16 people after they arrested one yesterday.

"Our investigation showed that these people were trying to work here illegally instead of trying to tap classified military information as per the rumors," said Kao Cheng-sheng (高政昇), secretary-general of the National Police Agency's Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Kao made his remarks in response to Chinese-language newspaper reports that said these 17 Chinese "tourists," three females and 13 males, were actually Chinese spies who came to Taiwan for the Han Kuang military exercises.

According to the police, these 17 people came to Taiwan on July 13 and were planning to stay in the country for eight days. However, these people suddenly disappeared after checking in.

The police said that the youngest of the group is 18, and the eldest is 47. Two of them have previously been deported because of fake marriages.

"Chinese visitors who violate the law more than twice will never be allowed to visit Taiwan again," Kao said.

However, at the same time, Kao also admitted that the police are having a difficult time locating the 16 missing Chinese "tourists," and he cannot guarantee that none of them would do anything illegal during their stay in Taiwan.

While some police officers were interviewing taxi drivers at the airport who might have taken the missing tourists somewhere, the police also sent undercover agents to the scene of the military exercises yesterday in an attempt to locate and identify these missing Chinese visitors. However, they did not discover any suspicious persons or alleged Chinese spies at the scene.

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