Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Police agency says tourists from China interested in F-16s

By Huang Tun-yen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Police Agency alleged yesterday that many Chin-ese tourists visiting Hualien have taken an interest in the activities of fighter aircraft in the area.

The agency said that it has increased its monitoring of Chinese tourist groups to prevent tour members from leaving their group to move around unaccompanied.

It said that it had discovered that many Chinese tourists visiting Hualien have taken an interest in the activities of F-16 fighters from the 401st Tactical Combined Wing, based in Hualien.

It did not provide details.

Because of fears of intelligence leaks about Taiwan's military situation, the agency has ordered police to increase their alertness.

The agency said that 11,000 Chinese tour groups, with a total of 160,000 visitors, have entered the country since 2002. Members of 53 groups ventured off on their own, and a total of 123 tour members have disappeared altogether, it said.

Police have apprehended 94 of the fugitives, 56 of whom were working illegally, it said. Fourteen were working as prostitutes, and another 13 were staying with relatives, the agency said.

The agency said that the whereabouts of 19 men and 10 women are unknown, and it has therefore asked all police to step up their surveillance.

In July 2004, several incidents of members leaving their tour groups occured, including one incident where a group of people left their tour group immediately upon entering Taiwan.

In order to deal with such occurrences, the agency has set up a special project for monitoring visiting Chinese tour groups and preventing group members from disappearing and working illegally.

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