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  National
Intruders Turn Out as S. Korean Agents
'Spy Break-in' of Indonesian Envoys' Hotel Room
Indonesia's Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa

The three intruders who broke into the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul , where Indonesian envoys were staying during a state visit to Seoul on Feb. 16, 2011, were found out to be the agents of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, a local daily Chosun Ilbo reported on Feb. 20, 2011.

The mass-circulation paper said that Indonesian Embassy in Seoul is aware that the intruders are South Korean spies.

The paper quoted a high-level South Korean government source as saying "They were trying to find out the business strategy of the Indonesian delegates, and it was an unintended mistake for them to be detected."

At around 9:27 a.m. on Feb. 16 (Wednesday), 2011, three intruders — two men and one woman from South Korea's National Intelligence Service — broke into a suite on the 19th floor of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul's Sogong-dong area, where Indonesian presidential envoys were staying during a state visit from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17, 2011.

The intruders were trying to steal information from a laptop computer of the Indonesian delegate in the room.

They left the room when they were caught by a delegation member who came back to the hotel. They returned the notebook computer to the Indonesian delegate.

It is unclear whether the intruders downloaded the information into their USB memory stick from the notebook.

The attempted theft of infomation of Indonesia's top defense secrets took place immediately after the 50-member Indonesian delegation left the hotel for a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak at Choengwadae or presidential office.

The Indonesian delatation included six minister-level officials and it was headed by Indonesia's Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa.

According to the Jakarta Post report of Feb. 20, 2011, South Korean police initially said that the intruders — all presumed to be Asians — had copied computer files containing sensitive military procurement information from the laptop using USB memory sticks.

No security guards or police officers were stationed at the hotel when the intruders entered the room.

The Jakarta Post said that the Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Michael Tene however, downplayed the incident, saying the three intruders were people who “entered the wrong room.”

Indonesia's top defense secrets information the South Korean intelligence operatives attempted to steal were the files on the Indonesian procurement plans and strategy on South Korea's T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jet, South Korean main battle tank "K2 Black Panther," and South Korea's shoulder launched surface-to-air missile KP-SAM Shin-Gung (新弓) or "New Bow."

South Korea's "T-50" tank was in fierce competition with Russia's "Yak-130" to be selected as the preferred bidder.

South Korean government has been exerting huge efforts to opening the first export of "T-50."

But, after the negotiations with UAE and Singapore failed, Seoul government focused particularly on Indonesia.

The world's most expensive "T-50" tank is priced at 25 million US dollars per unit.

South Korea planned to export some 1,000 units of the state-of-the-art tanks by year 2030.

Chosun Ilbo quoted a South Korean government source as saying "National Intelligence Service made a 'mistake' under the pressure that T-50 tanks should definately be exported."

The vernacular paper also quoted a local intelligence source as saying "National Intelligence Service tried to take care of the aftermaths of this incident through various channels."

"Isn't it an open secret that intelligence agencies of each nation are involved in a war of intelligence when foreign delegations arrive," the paper quoted the source as saying.

Meanwhile, South Korean police earlier reported that it was difficult to identify the intruders because the footage of the CCTV at the hotel was not clear enough.




 

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