A pigeon caught in Da Nang with unidentified characters on its wings. Photo: Nguyen Tu
The alleged "spy pigeons" caught in central Vietnam recently with Chinese characters stamped on their wings in red inks and a ring around their foot turned out to be racing pigeons, police said Wednesday.
As many as 16 such pigeons have been caught since last November by residents of Da Nang City, who handed them over to the police, said Colonel Tran Phuoc Hung of the Da Nang Police Department.
Some newspaper reports quoted residents as saying that they found something that looked like a memory card inside some of the rings.
As tension rose between Vietnam and China earlier last year, after China illegally deployed a huge oil drig in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone in the East Sea, also known as South China Sea, some netizens alleged that the "Chinese" pigeons were on a spy mission.
A pigeon with a ring wrapped around its ankle. Photo: Nguyen Tu
The police put an end to all rumors on Wednesday, confirming that the pigeons belong to pigeon racing clubs in Taiwan, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and even Vietnam.
The pigeons had set off from the sea in racing competitions and they had flied for a long time until they got exhausted. Some of them had landed on the roofs of houses along the Vietnamese coast and got caught by residents, according to Da Nang police.
The police also established that the characters on the birds’ wings and the rings are their registration number in the competitions and the names of the pigeon racing clubs.