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German authorities arrest three suspected Chinese spies

German authorities arrest three suspected Chinese spies

German authorities arrest three suspected Chinese spies

German authorities arrest three suspected Chinese spies

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  • Thomas R, a suspect, allegedly conducted espionage on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
  • Prosecutors allege that the suspects were engaged in negotiations on additional projects benefiting China’s navy.
  • Arrests occurred in Hesse and North-Rhine-Westphalia.
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German authorities announced the arrest of three individuals suspected of spying for China. The main suspect, identified as Thomas R, allegedly conducted espionage on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS). Prosecutors claim that his network ran a front company that collaborated with German research organizations.

German prosecutors claim that the accused individuals gathered sensitive information, including designs for an engine suitable for use on combat ships, to transmit to China. They allege that Thomas R. obtained “innovative technologies for military use” on behalf of an MSS employee. Additionally, they assert that he utilized a front company, managed by the two other suspects identified as Herwig F and Ina F, to establish contact with individuals working in science and research.

Prosecutors allege that the accused had already completed a first project concerning the operation of high-performance marine engines intended for use on combat ships. At the time of their arrest, prosecutors allege they were engaged in further negotiations on additional projects that could benefit China’s navy.

They added that the arrests occurred in the western German states of Hesse and North-Rhine-Westphalia. The three suspects also face accusations of exporting a laser to China, which is prohibited under EU “dual use” regulations. These rules forbid the export of goods that can be utilized for both military and civilian purposes to specific countries.

Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the arrests were a “great success for our counterintelligence”.

“The area affected in the current case – innovative technologies from Germany that can be used for military purposes – is particularly sensitive,” she added.

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The arrests follow Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Beijing a week ago, during which he addressed concerns such as China’s support for Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, they occurred shortly after the apprehension of two alleged spies in the southern German state of Bavaria. Authorities detained the suspects, described as dual German-Russian nationals, on suspicion of spying for Russia and plotting to sabotage German military aid for Ukraine.

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