Official link to pirates rejected

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 March, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 March, 1994, 12:00am

THE alleged involvement of Chinese officials in piracy attacks in the South China Sea was yesterday denied by a Guangdong official in charge of public security.

Speaking in Beijing, Ling Baitang said the charges could have arisen from misunderstandings created by pirates dressing up as officers from the Public Security Bureau.

Mr Ling said the bureau had arrested several pirates posing as officers, but refused to give a specific number.

He rejected a Hong Kong government report, handed to the International Maritime Organisation, which said about half of nearly 100 sea attacks in the past 18 months involved Chinese officials.

The Hong Kong Government should have raised the issue with China side before making public its report, Mr Ling said.

His comments came after some deputies to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) expressed concern about report.

''This is going to affect both the international reputation of China and Hong Kong, giving rise to fears of being robbed by well-equipped pirates as soon as cargo carriers enter the waters,'' Law Cheung-kwok said.

He called on the Chinese Government to step up inspection and co-operate with Hong Kong on the matter.

Hong Kong people's confidence in China would increase if Beijing improved its legal system and fought against corruption, the CPPCC was told yesterday.

Xu Simin, a Hong Kong deputy to the CPPCC, said the crackdown on corruption in the mainland was ''still far from satisfactory'' by the territory's standards.