SEOUL, SEPT. 4 -- In the aftermath of a new crackdown on militant strikers, South Korean Interior Minister Chung Kwan Yong warned today that the police would continue to arrest workers who participate in violent strikes.

"Official forces will intervene inside and outside the workplace to end such incidents, even without a request from the company," Chung told reporters. He said such action is necessary to maintain order and protect citizens.

His comments came shortly after police made early morning raids today on striking workers in Ulsan, about 190 miles southeast of Seoul, home of the Hyundai industrial group, and Pupyong, 20 miles west of the capital, where Daewoo Motor Co. operates a car assembly factory. About 200 workers were detained in the surprise raids.

About 2,500 riot police moved on a few hundred workers in Pupyong who were staging an all-night vigil at the Daewoo facility. News reports said 135 Daewoo workers were arrested, and eight were injured while resisting arrest or jumping from the administrative building they were occupying.

A similar scenario unfolded in Ulsan, headquarters for the Hyundai Group, South Korea's largest industrial concern. Police raided a worker dormitory before dawn, rounding up about 70 striking laborers, according to local reports. Another 100 arrests were reported at scattered strikes around the country.

The police crackdown today ended days of uncertainty over the government's attitude toward the strikers. The raids, combined with the announcement of the arrest of an alleged North Korean spy who reportedly infiltrated opposition groups, appeared to confirm that President Chun Doo Hwan is opting for a hard-line approach to the fresh unrest in South Korea.

However, many western diplomats and political analysts interpret the arrests as a somewhat limited move aimed at quelling the unrest that broke out in earnest earlier this week. After negotiations between labor and management at Hyundai and Daewoo reached an impasse, workers took to the streets in protests that rapidly escalated into violence.

"The government really felt a need to get some of the hotheads off the streets," a western diplomat said.

"The government is trying to increase the pressure, but things haven't reached a point where {police} are raiding the offices of dissident groups," the diplomat said.

Although the ruling and opposition parties agreed earlier this week on a draft constitution, the political atmosphere in Seoul remains unpredictable and volatile, according to western diplomats. The ruling and opposition parties, worried that the labor trouble may upset the fragile timetable for presidential elections set for December, both called on the government to solve the unrest through peaceful mediation of wage grievances.

However, the labor disputes show few signs of dissolving. Reports said hundreds of striking workers returned to the Ulsan and Pupyong sites today to demand the release of their colleagues. A taxi strike in Seoul, which appeared to be settled earlier in the week, continued.

In the demonstrations leading to the Ulsan arrests today, nearly 20,000 workers had laid siege at Hyundai's sprawling headquarters. Some company offices were reportedly ransacked, the Ulsan city hall was overrun and a luxury hotel owned by Hyundai was attacked, forcing the evacuation of about 100 foreigners.

The workers went on strike after negotiations with management broke down Monday, shattering a fragile truce that had ended massive worker protests last month.