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Fishermen rewarded for netting spy devices

By CANG WEI in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-19 10:12

Jiangsu province rewarded 11 fishermen and five other people on Monday after they captured suspected underwater spy devices in China's territorial waters.

Fishermen in the coastal province have fished out 10 suspected foreign spy devices since 2020, which had functions including underwater investigation and the identification and stealing of secrets, which posed a danger to the country's safety, according to an office of the province's national security department.

The office presented certificates of merit and bonuses to the fishermen in Lianyungang, one of Jiangsu's coastal cities. It also encouraged them to report any suspicious devices either by calling the 12339 hotline or logging on to 12339.gov.cn, a website of the Ministry of State Security.

According to the office, the honors and bonuses given to the fishermen have greatly stimulated their enthusiasm and initiative in safeguarding national security.

In 2019, seven of the suspicious underwater devices captured in Jiangsu were identified as foreign spy devices. In 2018, six such devices were identified.

By April last year, China rewarded 91 fishermen for capturing foreign spy devices since 2016, China Central Television reported. The devices were captured in various cities in coastal regions, such as the provinces of Zhejiang and Hainan and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Police from the national security bureau in Taizhou, Zhejiang, said the spy devices can collect many kinds of information, including ocean currents, temperature and salinity. They might pose a threat to national security, as they could affect the activities of China's warships and submarines, the launch of underwater missiles and the functions of anti-submarine sonars, CCTV reported.

Some of the devices can also map the seabed and collect data on a ship's sound print, which can be used for military purposes such as detecting submarine and ship movements and early warning detection, according to Global Times.

To help fishermen better identify suspicious devices, the national security department in Jiangsu released photos of the various kinds of spy devices found in Lianyungang. In one instance, due to the lack of such information, a fisherman sold the suspicious device he captured to a recycling station instead of reporting it to the national security department.

Global Edition
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