Cai Xiaohong has been accused of betraying state secrets A former senior official with the Beijing Liaison Office in Hong Kong is being detained and interviewed on the mainland for spying, a semi-official news agency reported yesterday. An official from the liaison office in Hong Kong was quoted by the Hong Kong China News Agency as saying that Cai Xiaohong, the former secretary-general of the office, was under investigation by the mainland's judicial organ for alleged offences, including betrayal of state secrets. Two Chinese-language newspapers, the Oriental Daily News and the Sun, reported yesterday that Cai was detained by the national security forces in Beijing between July and August. The news agency said Cai's was just one of a string of cases of foreign intelligence agencies' espionage activities in Hong Kong. 'According to the espionage cases cracked by relevant mainland departments over the past few years, foreign intelligence agencies have been using Hong Kong as a base to launch espionage activities, such as recruiting spies, inciting defections and stealing secrets,' the report said. According to the report, Cai was allegedly betraying state secrets to western intelligence agencies after receiving bribes of up to $6 million. Cai had been working in Xinhua's branch in Hong Kong, the predecessor of the liaison office, since 1989. It was reported that he was responsible for internal administration of the liaison office over the past few years, including processing confidential documents between the office and the central government. Ma Lik, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said he was surprised a senior Hong Kong-based mainland official such as Cai could be involved in allegations of espionage. 'But even before the handover, Hong Kong was an international centre of espionage activities. It is not that surprising that that kind of thing is happening in Hong Kong,' said Mr Ma, who is also a deputy to the National People's Congress. Cai's case has raised concerns about whether the police force should re-form the special branch, which was abolished just before the handover, and whether legislation for national security laws should be resumed. Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, a local delegate to the Chinese Political Consultative Conference, said Cai's case showed why Hong Kong needed national security legislation.