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North Korea arrests a number of 'foreign spies'

RIA Novosti

05/09/2007 12:21 BEIJING, September 5 (RIA Novosti) - The North Korean national security service has announced the arrest of an as yet unknown number of 'foreign spies', Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

The suspects, whose nationality has yet to be made public, "gathered official documents and information regarding vital North Korean military installations, as well as propagating the idea of so-called 'freedom and democracy' amongst the people," the agency quoted Li Su Gil, a spokesman for the North Korean national security service, as saying.

"The spies were arrested in the process of handing over this information. They shall be tried according to the laws of North Korea," he said.

The spokesman went on to say that the suspects had used digital cameras and video cameras to collect data, and that they had also been in possession of GPS navigation devices.

Xinhua said journalists were shown footage of the captured hardware at a press conference, including a fake rock used to store and transmit data. The alleged find is reminiscent of a device that sparked a spy scandal in Moscow early last year, when British Embassy staff were accused of using a hi-tech device hidden in a rock to plant and retrieve information.

The North Korean spokesman said: "While the situation on the Korean peninsula has improved of late, hostile forces are increasing their espionage activities against North Korea. The purpose of these activities is to wage a psychological war against the North Korean people, and to destroy socialism in our country. The people and the security services shall remain vigilant."

Along with the alleged foreign spies, a number of North Korean citizens 'in the employment of foreign security services' were also detained, the agency said. No date has as yet been given for the any of the arrests.

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