Three Germans Arrested Under Suspicion of Spying for China

( – Three German citizens were arrested by German authorities under suspicion of conducting espionage for the Chinese government.

On Monday, April 22nd, three suspects were arrested in Germany under suspicion of working for China as spies and attempting to transfer sensitive information about technologies that have potential use in military operations. According to prosecutors, the three Germans are accused of acting on behalf of Chinese intelligence sometime before June 2022 and he may have also violated Germany’s export laws.

The suspects’ full names were not given in court documents due to privacy laws in Germany. One of the suspects, identified as Thomas R, allegedly worked for an agent employed by the Ministry of State Security in China. The suspect allegedly passed along information about “innovative technologies” from within Germany that were of military use to this agent.

Thomas R used the other two suspects, identified as Ina F and Herwig F, to obtain this information. The couple owns a company that works with German researchers in Duesseldorf and allegedly helped negotiate an agreement between a German university and a Chinese partner for research on ship engine development. The handler working with Thomas R was behind that project and it was receiving Chinese state funding, according to prosecutors. A special laser was also illegally exported to China, which was procured by the suspects using university funds.

The suspects’ homes and office spaces were raided and searched, and they were arrested between Bad Homburg and Duesseldorf.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the arrests represented a “great success” for German counterespionage, and that they are “keeping an eye on the significant danger” posed by espionage from China into Germany’s “business, industry, and science.” Faeser said the Interior Ministry is watching out for “risks and threats.”

A week before the arrests, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz paid a visit to China for three days, although it’s unclear if government officials were aware of the case while the trip was taking place and if the timing was related.

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