TEHRAN (defapress) - China has said a self-confessed spy who is seeking asylum in Australia is a convicted fraudster wanted by Shanghai police.
News ID: 79367
Publish Date: 24November 2019 - 17:21
The Nine Network newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald reported Chinese defector Wang "William" Liqiang has given Australia's counterespionage agency inside intelligence on how Beijing conducts its interference operations abroad.
Wang reportedly revealed the identities of China's senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong, and provided details of how they funded and conducted operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.
The Chinese Embassy on Sunday hit back at Wang and referenced a statement from Shanghai police, which said he was sentenced in Fujian province in October 2016 to one year and three months in prison for fraud, with a suspended sentence of 1.5 years.
It said he was wanted in relation to a fraud case from earlier this year.
"On April 19, 2019, the Shanghai police opened an investigation into Wang who allegedly cheated 4.6 million Yuan [$653,482] from a person surnamed Shu through a fake investment project involving car import in February," the statement said, Al Jazeera reported.
The embassy said Wang left for Hong Kong on April 10 carrying a fake Chinese passport and a fake Hong Kong permanent resident ID, adding that the Shanghai police were investigating the matter.
Wang would be the first Chinese intelligence operative to blow his cover. He told the newspapers he faced detention and possible execution if he returned to China. He said he currently was living in Sydney with his wife and infant son on a tourist visa and had requested political asylum.
Wang claimed he was part of a Hong Kong-based investment firm that was a front for the Chinese government to conduct political and economic espionage in Hong Kong, including infiltrating universities and directing harassment and cyberattacks against dissidents.
Wang claimed he was involved in the kidnapping in 2015 of one of five Hong Kong booksellers suspected of selling dissident materials. The incident has been a reference point for protesters during the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.
Using a South Korean passport, Wang also said he meddled in Taiwan's 2018 municipal elections and claimed there were plans to disrupt the democratic self-ruled island's presidential election in January.
Wang reportedly said he helped guide positive media attention toward certain Taiwanese politicians, including President Tsai Ing-wen's top challenger, Han Kuo-yu from the China-friendly Kuomintang party.
The reports quickly provoked a strong reaction from both Han and his party, as well as Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which supports Taiwan's formal independence, a red line for Beijing.
Speaking on a campaign stop in eastern Taiwan on Saturday, Tsai said China's "shadow" was becoming more and more obvious, adding that Taiwan must not let China destroy its democratic values.
The Kuomintang called the reports in the Australian media "quite sensational", adding it hoped the government did not use this to "play the fear of the communist's card".