Chinese defector reveals identities of Chinese undercover spies in Asia and Australia

Wang LiqiangA Chinese intelligence defector has reportedly given the Australian government information about entire networks of Chinese undercover spies in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia, according to reports. The story of Wang “William” Liqiang, made headlines all over Australia during the weekend, culminating in an entire episode of 60 Minutes Australia about him airing on Sunday. The 26-year-old from China’s eastern Fujian province reportedly defected to Australia in October, while visiting his wife and newborn son, who live in Sydney. He is currently reported to be in a safe house belonging to the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).

Police in the Chinese city of Shanghai claim that Mr. Wang is a small-time criminal who has been found guilty of using fraudulent documents and has a 15-month suspended prison sentence on his record. In a statement issued on Sunday, China’s embassy in Canberra described Mr. Wang as a “convicted fraudster” who was “wanted by police after fleeing [China] on a fake passport”. But according to reports in the Australian media, Mr. Wang has provided the ASIO with a 17-page sworn statement, in which he details his work as an undercover intelligence officer. He is also said to have shared the identities of senior Chinese intelligence officers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and to have explained how they organize and implement espionage operations on behalf of Bejing.

In a leading article published on Saturday, The Sydney Morning Herald referred to Mr. Wang as “the first Chinese operative to ever blow his cover” and claimed that he had given the ASIO “a trove of unprecedented inside intelligence” about Chinese espionage operations in Southeast Asia. The newspaper said that the defector had revealed details about entire networks of Chinese intelligence operatives in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He also reportedly provided identifying information about deep-cover Chinese intelligence networks in Australia.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Australian media said yesterday that the ASIO was examining allegations that a Chinese espionage ring tried to recruit an Australian businessman of Chinese background and convince him to run for parliament. According to reports, the spy ring approached Nick Zhao, a successful luxury car dealer, and offered to fund his political campaign with nearly $700,000 (AUS$1 million) if he run as a candidate for the Liberal Party of Australia. Zhao reportedly told the ASIO about the incident last year, shortly before he was found dead in a Melbourne hotel room. His death remains under investigation.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 25 November 2019 | Permalink

4 Responses to Chinese defector reveals identities of Chinese undercover spies in Asia and Australia

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Wang was sentenced for fraud in 2016; the criminal judgment was published online (https://wenshu.court.gov.cn/website/wenshu/181107ANFZ0BXSK4/index.html?docId=32d0c69180824c93b1467f2f7470329b).

    Taiwanese authorities have also dismissed Mr. Wang’s claim that he has entered Taiwan using a South Korean passport (https://udn.com/news/story/7321/4183432).

  2. Chukchi says:

    There is way too much noise against Mr. Wang here and there.
    Way too much moise…

  3. Anonymous says:

    A former Deputy Director of Taiwan’s Military Intelligence Bureau also gave an interview (https://udn.com/news/story/10930/4185036) explaining why he believes Mr. Wang’s story is “total bullshit” (“從頭到尾在瞎扯”). He gave 10 points; chief among are:

    * that Mr. Wang appears ignorant of the recent restructuring of PLA’s intelligence system;
    * that it’s unrealistic for a 26-year-old to be in charge of Hong Kong– and Taiwan affairs;
    * that intelligence officers do not travel abroad under multiple cover identities;
    * that it’s unrealistic for PRC intelligence officers’ families to reside in a foreign country; and
    * that Mr. Wang’s English-language skills appear limited.

    It’s also been pointed out that Mr. Wang’s fake South Korean passport is of amateur quality: “[t]he English and Korean names don’t match”, and the Korean name is actually “a woman’s name” (https://twitter.com/John_F_Power/status/1198162652612022272).

  4. Joseph says:

    Australian Media have hyped this up so much that its damaged public opinion of China despite doubtful. The media have also published many other anti-chinese articles, and I belive this is because its feeding off the trend.

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