China probes Coca-Cola illegal surveying allegation
Updated: 2013-03-15 13:20
KUNMING - Coca-Cola is being investigated by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation after reports of illegal surveying activities.
A statement on Friday said the administration has been informed that the Yunnan branch of the US soft drink giant was suspected of collecting geological information and data using illegal means.
Recent reports carried by news outlets stated that the provincial administration of surveying, mapping and geoinformation of Yunnan had announced at a meeting that Coca-Cola had used GPS devices to carry out illegal surveying in the southwestern border province.
Such media reports were described as "inaccurate" by a Yunnan administration official.
"We have not released that kind of information and we don't know why the media has chosen to publish such information," said Han Qixiang, a provincial administration official.
Han did not disclose any details about the case, citing national security concerns.
Yunnan lies along China's border with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
Coca-Cola Thursday denied conducting any illegal surveying activity, adding that it is cooperating with authorities in charge of the investigation.
The company said some of its bottling plants use surveying technology, such as electronic maps, to improve their logistical efficiency. It did not mention the GPS claims mentioned in the media.
Chinese law forbids foreign organizations and individuals from conducting surveying activities in its territory without permission. Violators may have their surveying equipment confiscated, be forced to pay fines ranging from 10,000 to 500,000 yuan ($1,595 to $79,745) or be ordered to leave the country.