U.K., German police arrest 5 alleged Chinese spies in separate probes

British and German police separately charged or arrested five people for allegedly spying for China and stealing technology.British police on Monday charged two men, aged 32 and 29, with providing prejudicial information to China, allegedly breaching of the Official Secrets Act.

They would appear in court on Friday, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement.

“This has been an extremely complex investigation into what are very serious allegations,” said Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the counter terrorism command at the Metropolitan Police.

There has been growing anxiety about China’s alleged espionage activity in Britain, particularly after it emerged last year that a parliamentary researcher was arrested on suspicion of spying for China.

The government said then that Chinese spies are targeting British officials in sensitive positions in politics, defence and business as part of an increasingly sophisticated spying operation to gain access to secrets.

Three Germans have also been arrested on suspicion of working with the Chinese secret service to hand over technology that could be used for military purposes, potentially helping strengthen China’s navy, German officials said on Monday.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the government was monitoring what she called a significant threat posed by Chinese espionage in business, industry and science.

“We look very closely at these risks and threats and have clearly warned and raised awareness about them so that protective measures are increased everywhere,” she said in a statement.

In this case, the issue of German innovative technologies that can be used for military purposes was “particularly sensitive,” she added.

The arrests came a week after Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to China to press Beijing on its support for Russia’s wartime economy and to raise issues of intellectual property theft and fair market access.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said in a statement, “At the time of their arrest, the accused were in further negotiations about research projects that could be particularly useful for expanding China’s maritime combat power.”

The Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese embassy in Berlin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prosecutors identified the suspects as Herwig F. and Ina F., a married couple who run a company in Dusseldorf, and Thomas R., described by prosecutors as an agent for an unidentified employee of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).

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