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Foreigner tops list of unlawful survey cases

By Zhao Qian (Global Times)

08:09, May 07, 2012

About 40 cases of illegal geographic surveying cases involving foreign individuals or organizations have been investigated since 2006, some of which involved stealing military information that could threaten national security, according to the country's surveying and mapping administration.

The administration over the weekend disclosed the top 10 unlawful surveying cases in 2011, with a case involving a US citizen ranking first. It is the third consecutive list made since cases involving foreigners were included in the top 10 list.

The US citizen, who was not named, used two Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers in August and collected more than 90,000 geographic coordinates near a military base in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region without permission from related departments, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG) said in a statement on its website.

The person, who registered with a travel agency to offer outdoor tour services to foreigners in Xinjiang, was fined 20,000 yuan ($3,170) in January, and all of his surveying equipment and results were confiscated by the Xinjiang surveying and mapping bureau.

"This kind of illegal survey results combined with satellite positioning data could seriously jeopardize national security, and in some situations, they could even be used for precise missile positioning," Li Daguang, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, told the Global Times yesterday.

Li said the coordinates, topography and geographic information of key areas are considered top secret, and if acquired by other countries, could be used to attack wartime targets.

There were similar cases involving foreigners in the past two years.

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