China says it has uncovered a criminal ring planning to kidnap athletes and others at the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Chinese Ministry’s of Public Security spokesman Wu Heping told a news conference today that the ring was based in the restive western Xinjiang region.
The ring was one of two broken up by Chinese authorities.
Wu said 35 people were arrested between March 26 and April 6 for plotting to kidnap athletes, foreign journalists and other visitors to the August Olympics.
“We face a real terrorist threat,” Wu said.
He said police had confiscated almost 10 kilos of explosives and eight sticks of dynamite and “jihadist” literature in the latest raids in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang.
Wu also also said those arrested had been manufacturing explosives and were plotting to attack hotels, government offices and military targets in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities.
He said the gang had been acting on orders from a radical Islamic Xinjiang independence group, East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
Western embassies asked Beijing for more information after authorities said they had broken up an attempt to hijack a plane in western China last month but so far no evidence has been provided, diplomats have said.