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Suspected Chinese spies arrested in Germany

  • April 24, 2024
  • 2 min read
Suspected Chinese spies arrested in Germany

German authorities say they have arrested three people that they suspect of being spies for the Chinese government. The primary suspect, known as Thomas R, is accused of spying for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS). His network operated a front company that co-operated with German research organisations, prosecutors claim.

Those accused are claimed to have gathered sensitive information, including designs for an engine for combat ships, in order to pass on to the Chinese government. Two other men in the UK have also been similarly charged, accused of providing information which could be “useful to an enemy” the police claimed.

The German prosecutors allege that Thomas R had obtained “innovative technologies for military use” on behalf of an MSS employee. They also allege that he ran a company with two other suspects, Herwig F, and Ina F, that contracted people in science and research.

One project was regarding the operation of high-performance marine engines which would power combat ships. That project is alleged to have already been completed. At the time of the arrest, the accused were allegedly negotiation over other projects that could be useful for the Chinese navy, according to prosecutors.

The three were arrested in the western German states of Hesse and North-Rhine-Westphalia. The suspects are also alleged to have exported a laser to China, something banned under EU’s “dual use” regulations that prohibit sending goods that can be used for military and civilian purposes to certain nations.

This is a “great success for our counterintelligence,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. “The area affected in the current case – innovative technologies from Germany that can be used for military purposes – is particularly sensitive,” she added.

These arrests come a week after Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to Beijing where he raised issues including China’s continued support for Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. They also follow two alleged spies suspected of sabotaging German miliary aid to Ukraine being arrested in Bavaria. Those two, described as dual German-Russian nationals, were detained after being suspected of spying for the Russian government.

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