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By Mark McDonald
The New York Times
February 21, 2011
SEOUL, South Korea -- Police officials are investigating a mysterious
break-in at the five-star Lotte Hotel, an odd bit of cloak and dagger in
Room 1961 whose storyline includes bumbling spies caught red-handed,
negotiations for a supersonic jet fighter, a stolen laptop and a
conveniently timed meeting with the president of South Korea.
Accounts from the police, local news media, government officials and
hotel employees laid out a whodunit tale of the break-in, which took
place last Wednesday when visiting Indonesian government and military
officials left their rooms at the Lotte for a late-morning meeting with
President Lee Myung-bak.
The Indonesians went to the Blue House, the presidential residence and
offices, to discuss the purchase of military jets from the
government-backed Korea Aerospace Industries. (The Korean plane, the
T-50 Golden Eagle, is an advanced jet trainer that can be upgraded to a
fighter-bomber. It is being considered for purchase by the Indonesians,
who are also considering a subsonic Russian plane, the Yak-130.)
The Indonesians, traveling with their own security personnel, left their
rooms unguarded, with their work computers and private documents inside,
the police and Indonesian officials said later. The Indonesian group
comprised as many as 50 people, reports said, including Defense Minister
Soon after the Indonesians left their rooms, two men and a woman went up
to the 19th floor and entered Room 1961, the police said. Inside were
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