Chinese police and state security authorities have cracked a Taiwanese spy ring gathering information on the mainland missile bases and naval installations, a Taiwan newspaper said Friday.
Taiwan's "defense minister" declined to comment on the report, saying it doesn't comment on intelligence work for security reasons.
The mass-circulation United Daily News quoted unnamed "reliable sources" as saying that the Chinese mainland had arrested three people spying for Taiwan's military intelligence bureau.
One of the men, spy ring chief Col. Li Yun-pu, was working for a technology firm in the east Chinese city of Nanjing while collecting information on the military bases, the newspaper said.
However, in a second story, the newspaper appeared to cast some doubt on its main report. The daily quoted Li's wife as saying her husband had retired from the military last year and had called her from Japan earlier this week to say he would return to Taiwan soon.
Taiwan's "defense minister" Tang Yiau-ming told reporters that he would not comment on the reports. "To protect the security of such people, we do not make any comment at all, and we hope our compatriots can support us (on this)," he said.
Taiwan's other news media also reported the spy ring, saying the spies detained have been handed over to judicial departments for prosecution.
(China Daily February 7, 2004)