Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

British Officials Warn G20 Delegation of Chinese Spies | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55357760

British Trade and Investment Minister Mark Price and U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Michael Punke attend the opening ceremony of the 2016 G20 Trade Ministers Meeting in Shanghai, China July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

Hangzhou – The 2008 Chinese espionage incident has cast its shadows on the G20 summit in Hangzhou this year. The British government warned its delegation of any similar attempts and called for extreme caution.

A source close to the British delegation in Hangzhou said that the British intelligence had provided officials accompanying PM Theresa May with temporary email addresses and mobile phones for the trip to better protect themselves from potential Chinese hackers.

Staffers were also advised to not accept gifts and to remain vigilant with electronic devices, such as memory sticks and mobile phone chargers that could be offered by their Chinese hosts.

British newspaper The Telegraph said that a British security chief warned the delegation that the hotel rooms would likely be bugged.

“We have been told that if you feel uncomfortable about people seeing you naked, you should get changed under your bedclothes,” the source said.

These measures reflect the British intelligence fear that the Chinese intelligence might hack its database and internal documents.

Yet, according to the source, the most serious threat posed by foreign spies is one of the oldest: the honey trap, or seduction.

In 2008, a Chinese spy was able to steal confidential information of a British official during his visit to Beijing before the Olympics. A delegation member back then took to his hotel room a woman who drugged him and stole his Blackberry along with documents from his briefcase.