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Tibetan security official says detained Taiwanese ‘no threat’ to the Dalai Lama

By Tendar Tsering, DHARAMSHALA: The Department of Security under the Dharamshala basedCentral Tibetan Administration told Phayul that the eight Taiwanese detained from a Tibetan monastery in north India didn’t pose any threat to the security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“They are not Chinese as earlier reported by the media. They are Taiwanese devotees and as far as we know, don’t pose any threat to the Dalai Lama,” Ngodup Dorjee, secretary of the DoS said.

The media was pushed into a frenzy earlier today after Himachal Police said they arrested eight “Chinese” nationals from a Tibetan monastery in Chauntra village, around 93 kms from Dharamshala, the exile seat of the Dalai Lama.

The police said they seized INR 300,000 and some foreign currencies along with mobile phones, some of which were suspected to have Chinese SIM cards, during the raids.

Although the Additional Director General of Police SR Mardi told reporters that it was “too early to conclude that those arrested were spies,” media speculations were rife.

However, by late afternoon, Himachal police confirmed that the eight arrested were not Chinese but Taiwanese, with the Intelligence Bureau ruling out any spy angle.

CNNIBN quoted police sources as saying that the passports of those arrested were the source of confusion. Taiwan’s official name is Republic of China, whereas China’s official name is People’s Republic of China.

Dorjee said that the eight Taiwanese were “supporters” of the monastery and had been “voluntarily helping” the monastery in some construction work. Media had earlier reported that they were “working as carpenters” at the monastery.

However, the secretary said the group had failed to report at the local police station after arriving in India.

“Foreign tourists have to report to the police within two weeks of their arrival and according to our information, they had failed to do that,” Dorjee said.

As per schedule, the Dalai Lama today left Dharamshala for a fortnight’s visit to Europe.

Published Date: Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 | 03:01 AM

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