A self-proclaimed Chinese spy has defected to Australia with a trove of intelligence on Chinese’s political interference operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia.
Mr. William Wang Liqiang, 26, who is currently in Sydney with his wife and infant son seeking political asylum, said he was personally involved in infiltration and disruption operations in all three countries.
He said in an interview that his role in the clandestine organization included infiltrating Hong Kong universities and conducting cyberattacks against dissidents.
Mr. Wang Liqiang exposed elaborate Chinese schemes to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) such as the names of agents and information on ongoing operations.
The information he divulged included Chinese efforts to interfere in Taiwan’s elections and to infiltrate Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Wang said he helped guide positive media attention toward Taiwanese politicians, including President Tsai Ing-wen’s top challenger, Han Kuo-yu.
He also claimed he was involved in the disappearance of five booksellers in Hong Kong who had published work controversial work against Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He further disclosed the identities of senior Chinese military intelligence officers in Hong Kong and details of how espionage work was conducted and funded.
According to reports he also exposed details of how Beijing covertly controls listed companies to fund intelligence operations, including the surveillance and profiling of dissidents and the co-opting of media organizations.
Chinese govt response Wang Liqiang claims
The Chinese government has denied Mr. Wang claims, saying he is a convicted fraudster wanted by Shanghai police.
Shanghai police said the 26-year-old is an unemployed worker from Nanping in the southeastern province of Fujian. He had earlier been given an 18-month sentence in October 2016 for fraud by the Guangze county court in Fujian.
According to an online document, Wang made up fictional facts and concealed the truth to defraud people of 120,000 yuan (HK$133,400). At that time, Wang was a student and it was his first offense.
The Shanghai police also added they have an ongoing investigation into Wang for allegedly defrauding someone out of 4.6 million yuan via a fraudulent car import project in February.
The Chinese government said Wang left for Hong Kong on April 10 carrying a fake passport and a fake Hong Kong permanent resident ID, adding that the Shanghai police were investigating the issue.
Activist and Spokesperson Kinling Lo tweeted China’s response on the defecting Chinese spy.
China finally speaks on “defecting Chinese spy” Wang Liqiang – whos now in Sydney, Australia.
Shanghai’s public security bureau said Wang is a fugitive from a 4.6 million yuan fraud case and has escaped to Hong Kong with a fake ID. pic.twitter.com/Ol6b89Gddp
— Kinling Lo 盧建靈 (@kinlinglo) November 23, 2019
Australia relations with Beijing in recent time has been a bit frosty, although Australia relies on China for one-third of the export earnings the country will be quick to defend its territorial integrity.
Australia’s Treasurer, Mr. Josh Frydenberg, told reporters that Mr. Wang Liqiang claims are disturbing and very sensitive, and was being handled by the authorities.
He added the Australian government would ensure that the sovereignty is kept intact and won’t permit any form of foreign interference.
Australian politician, Andrew Hastie said on Sunday that Wang should be allowed to remain in Australia.
Hastie, a popular critic of Beijing, who was banned from entering China, said:
I’m of the view that anyone who’s willing to assist us in defending our sovereignty deserves our protection.
He has previously said Australia’s sovereignty and freedoms was been threatened by Beijing.