Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/13/taiwan_laptop_china_spies/

China fingered as lappie disappears from Taiwanese boat

Machine could contain info on high-speed stealth ships

By Phil Muncaster

Posted in Policy, 13th June 2012 06:15 GMT

Taiwanese military types are trying to allay fears that a laptop which went missing from a high-speed missile boat last month could pose a risk to national security after concerns that the device was stolen by Chinese spies.

Colonel Lin Gau-joe of Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence told reporters that the laptop was being used to test communications capabilities and did not contain any classified information, according to The China Post.

The laptop in question apparently went missing from a Kuang Hua VI (KH-6) fast attack craft in May when the vessel was anchored at Tso-ying naval base in the south of the island.

There are fears that the device could contain top secret information on the stealth vessels, which were commissioned a couple of years ago. The stealth vessels – together with their cargo of Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles – form the first line of defence for any attack launched on the republic.

After an initial investigation got nowhere, a separate team was established to find out what happened, but the navy has already admitted to AFP that security at the base was not as tight as it should have been.

China would seem to be the prime suspect, assuming the laptop was stolen and not accidentally dropped overboard, given the turbulent history of the two countries.

After the bitter civil war in China ended in 1949, the nationalist faction retreated back to Taiwan, but no peace treaty was ever signed between the two sides and many on the Communist-ruled mainland still regard the island as China's.

Although recent years have seen improved relations, helped along by bilateral trade – especially in the technology space – covert cross-Strait cyber espionage is thought to be common. ®