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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 05:56 GMT 06:56 UK
HK reporter spying, China says
Ching Cheong (courtesy: The Straits Times)
Ching Cheong is The Straits Times' chief China correspondent
China's foreign ministry has said that a Hong Kong-based journalist working for a Singaporean newspaper has admitted to being a spy.

Ching Cheong, a correspondent for the Straits Times, has admitted being paid for gathering intelligence, it said.

The foreign ministry said Mr Ching had acted as a spy for unspecified foreign intelligence organisations.

Mr Ching's wife said on Monday that security agents had detained her husband at the end of April.

The Straits Times confirmed that its chief China correspondent was being held by the authorities.

His wife, Mary Lau, said he had travelled to China last month to collect secret papers linked to the former Chinese leader, Zhao Ziyang.

Mr Zhao, who died in January, was ousted for opposing the suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Ching Cheong is the second employee of a foreign news organisation to be taken into custody by President Hu Jintao's government in a year.

New York Times researcher Zhao Yan was arrested by the Chinese authorities last October, charged with revealing state secrets. He is still awaiting trial.

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