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5,000 tips to Beijing national security hotline help nab foreign spies

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Five thousand tips, including some that helped catch foreign spies, were reported by the public since April last year to a Beijing bureau responsible for national security, local media reported on Tuesday.

Tips mostly came via the 12339 hotline and included both Chinese and overseas residents, the Beijing Evening News reported on Tuesday.

Launched in 2015, the hotline is the sole telephone open to the public for reporting suspicious activities including potential espionage.

Cash rewards from 10,000 yuan ($1,528) to 500,000 yuan were launched in April last year for important clues that led to catching spies, the newspaper reported.

The Beijing Evening News cited an example of a taxi driver who called 12339 to report suspicious foreigners.

They later proved to have overseas spy backgrounds and were intending to pry into China's military secrets using underground detection equipment, the paper said.

The driver received a cash reward for providing important information about the attempt.

Since 2014, the bureau has accelerated education campaigns to increase  awareness of national security among the public and prompting tipsters to become more proactive, the Beijing Evening News said.

According to China's counter-espionage law of November 1, 2014, foreign organizations and individuals who engage in espionage activities or instigate and sponsor similar activities will be punished.

Espionage includes working for foreign espionage organizations, or accepting tasks from such organizations, according to the bureau.

Espionage activities also include incidents where overseas institutions, organizations or individuals obtain State secrets through prying.


Newspaper headline: Tipsters call 12339 national security hotline to help cops nab foreign spies


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