China is investigating a Canadian couple who ran a coffee shop on the Chinese border with North Korea for the suspected theft of military and intelligence information and for threatening national security, China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to Reuters, the official Xinhua news agency identified the two as Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt.
"Kevin Garratt and his wife ... are suspected of collecting and stealing intelligence materials related to Chinese military targets and important Chinese national defence scientific research programs, and engaging in activities that endanger China's national security," the Foreign Ministry said in a short statement.
Canada's The Globe and Mail said the Vancouver couple had been living in China since 1984 and opened a coffee shop called Peter's Coffee House in Dandong, a key gateway to North Korea, in 2008. The couple previously worked as teachers in southern China.
It said the whereabouts of the Garratts was unknown. Calls by Reuters to the coffee shop went unanswered. A family friend said the Garratts had three children.
The Canadian embassy said it was aware of reports that two Canadians had been "detained" in China and was gathering information on the matter.
The investigation into the Garratts comes a week after Canada took the unusual step of singling out Chinese hackers for attacking a key computer network and lodged a protest with Beijing.