In South Korea, a Shadowy, Bumbling Tale of Espionage

South Koreans try to spy on Indonesians in Room 1961
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 11:12 AM CST
Korean intelligence agents were caught spying on Indonesian officials in Seoul, negotiating to by Korea's T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – This bungled attempt at espionage in Seoul sounds like a something out of a spy novel, writes the New York Times. Some 50 Indonesians were in South Korea last Wednesday to meet with President Lee Myung-bak to discuss the purchase of the T-50 Golden Eagle from Korea Aerospace Industries. But once they left the five-star Lotte Hotel, shadowy things reportedly occurred in Room 1961. Police say two men and one woman entered the room, which contained two laptops.

When an aide returned to Room 1961, he came upon the woman. From there, reports differ: She either said she was in the wrong room, and quickly left, or he spotted her downloading files onto a USB drive. The aide reported that a laptop was missing, and it was discovered shortly thereafter—in a stairwell, in the hands of the two men ... who turned it over and fled. The purported intelligence agents were reportedly looking for information about Indonesia's negotiating strategy for the jets, for which Korea has been desperately trying to find buyers. "It was an unintended consequence that they were caught," a senior Korean official told the Chosun Ilbo.

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