Wed, Jul 26, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese spies arrested in Vietnam, media reports say

AP , TAIPEI

Chinese agents have arrested two Taiwanese spies in Vietnam following a fierce fist fight, Chinese-language newspapers reported yesterday.

The two officers from Taiwan's Military Intelligence Bureau were meeting with a Chinese informer whom they had recruited in Vietnam when they were arrested on May 30, the Apple Daily reported, citing unidentified Taiwanese officials.

One of the officers, Hsu Chang-kuo (許昌國), allegedly sent a text message to a colleague in Taiwan requesting help. A fist fight ensued between the eight Chinese agents and the two Taiwanese, but the Taiwanese were soon overpowered, the Apple Daily reported.

The China Times identified the other Taiwanese agent as Colonel Chu.

The arrests took place at a Vietnamese checkpoint in an area near the border with China's southwestern Guangxi Province, China Times quoted unidentified officials as saying.

Chinese intelligence agents found out about the informer months ago, just after he was recruited by the Taiwanese, Apple Daily reported.

They "fed false intelligence" to the informer so that he could win Taiwan's trust. The informer then demanded to meet with high-level intelligence officers from Taiwan to cement the relationship, it reported.

The Defense Ministry declined to comment on the reports.

Vietnam asked China to release the two men, acting on a request from Taiwan, but Chinese authorities denied any knowledge of the affair, the Apple Daily said.

Taiwan and China have spied on each other since the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The China Times said Taiwan had stopped sending spies to China in recent years because of the high risk of arrest, instead recruiting Chinese nationals to gather intelligence.

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