Five North Vietnamese accused of spying, have been expelled by the Laotian Government. The expulsion?
NORTH VIETNAMESE ON TARMAC; DEMONSTRATORS; FAREWELL CEREMONY; VIETNAMESE BOARD PLANE; ENVOYS TALK ON TARMAC.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Five North Vietnamese accused of spying, have been expelled by the Laotian Government. The expulsion followed the finding of two maps in their possession showing vital military installations in the north. A Hanoi spokesman described the charges as fabricated and announced the suspension of all flights between the two countries.
Laotian authorities say the five were apprehended after their car, bearing diplomatic plates, collided with a military jeep on a little used road in northwestern Laos. Their hurry to leave the scene of the accident aroused suspicions and a search was made both of the car and its occupants. According to Laotian sources, the maps were uncovered.
A sixth arrested person, Nguyen Song Hai, was later freed. He had diplomatic status. However, the Government later declared him persona non grata.
After their arrest the five were held at Pone Keng Barracks, the Laotian military headquarters, where they went on a hunger strike.
A Laotian spokesman, meanwhile, said the North Vietnamese contacted an un-named Lao army officer and got him to obtain from his son--also an officer--maps of the military bases. The son, however, informed the authorities and police were watching when the map was picked up. The collision followed when they tried to stop the North Vietnamese car.
The five expelled men were placed on International Control Commission aircraft flying to Hanoi.