China in Espionage Spat with UK, Japan

  • Our Bureau
  • 10:12 AM, November 2, 2015
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China in Espionage Spat with UK, Japan
Chinese Spy Network (Image for illustration)

While China is being accused of using honey trap and cyber-espionage tactics to steal UK’s military secrets, China has started a counter-espionage hotline to report suspected spies in the nation.

China recently arrested four Japanese who were accused of spying. The Chinese security officials have now launched a counter-espionage hotline that targets foreign organizations and individuals who conduct espionage activities or instigate and sponsor others in conducting them.

Chinese officials have said four Japanese "spies" were arrested in September and October. This includes a male spy caught in Jilin Province allegedly carrying out espionage activities near a military facility, local media reports said.

"The counter-espionage hotline is a good way for the local government to enforce the law and deal with spying," Song added. "Other provinces may launch their own counter- espionage hotlines soon, following Jilin's lead." Song Zhongping, a Beijing- based military expert was quoted as saying by the Global Times news daily.

The Jilin is a coastal province off the coast of East China Sea facing Japan with which China has a dispute over uninhabited islands.

UK intelligence chiefs have warned the government that China is using honey traps and cybercrime as their main spy tactics.

The M16 memo issued to all serving and former members of the intelligence agencies states, “The Chinese service are also becoming increasingly proactive and aggressive in approaching former members of HMG, including the Security and Intelligence Agencies,” the DailyStar news daily reported Sunday.

“Chinese spies are still using the good old-fashioned honey trap to get secrets out of middle-aged businessmen and government officials. The Chinese spy network has hundreds of beautiful women who tempt lonely men into bed, offer them great sex then engage in pillow talk. If that doesn’t work they will also use blackmail,” the news daily quoted some senior officials as saying.

Apart from honey traps, the Chinese Foreign Intelligence Service is allegedly using cybercrime in a bid to steal secrets.

MI5 believes the cyber-attacks against British companies originate from a secret cell within China’s People’s Liberation Army, known as Unit 61398.

The unit is understood to be staffed by hundreds of English-speaking computer experts whose sole job is to steal information from the US and Britain.

China has denied any knowledge of existence of such an unit and refutted all allegations involved in cyber espionage.

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