When you’re given a free gift at a conference, you don’t expect to get involved in something resembling a John Le Carré novel.
But according to a leaked MI5 document, spies from the People’s Liberation Army and Ministry of Public Security in China have been approaching businessmen at trade fairs with “gifts” and “lavish hospitality”.
The Sunday Times reports
that the freebies, such as cameras and memory sticks, contain bugs and viruses that give spies remote access to computers.
It also warns of the perils of business travel, with “hotel rooms in major Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai likely to be bugged. Hotel rooms have been searched while the occupants are out of the room.”
The goal of this subterfuge is to obtain commercial advantages, with defence, energy, communications and manufacturing companies all attacked.
Of course the Chinese strongly deny any accusations of spying – after all it wouldn’t be very “intelligent” to admit it.