UK Lawmaker’s Researcher Among Five Alleged Chinese Spies Arrested In UK, Germany

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John Oyewale Contributor
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British authorities charged two British men, including a parliamentary researcher, with spying for China, just as German authorities arrested three Germans on a similar charge, according to statements and reports released Monday.

“The Crown Prosecution Service [CPS] Counter Terrorism Division has today authorised the Metropolitan Police to charge two men with espionage offences,” Nick Price, Head of the U.K.’s CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division announced Monday. “Christopher Berry, 32, and Christopher Cash, 29, will be charged with providing prejudicial information to a foreign state, China, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 26 April.”

Cash worked as a researcher for the Conservative Party‘s Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair Alicia Kearns, Politico reported. Kearns was elected to the position October 2022, a parliamentary statement said.

Both suspects allegedly contravened the U.K.’s Official Secrets Act, having allegedly “obtained, collected, recorded, published, or communicated” certain information that would potentially be “useful to an enemy,” Price’s statement revealed.

Berry allegedly committed the acts between Dec. 28, 2021 and Feb. 3, 2023 and Cash between Jan. 20, 2022 and Feb.3, 2023, according to the statement. The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police (MP) arrested both men March 13, 2023, according to an MP statement. The investigation, conducted together with the CPS, had been “extremely complex,” Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Counter Terrorism Command, said in the police statement. (RELATED: Two Alleged Russian Spies Arrested In NATO Country, Accused Of Plotting To Attack U.S. Military And Other Sites)

Cash had access to the U.K.’s Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat, The Sunday Times reported. He was also involved with the China Research Group, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The China Research Group, a think-tank set up by a group of British Conservative politicians, seeks “to promote debate and fresh thinking about how Britain should respond to the rise of China,” according to its website. Tugendhat cofounded the group, The Guardian reported.

“As this matter is now sub judice it is essential that neither I, nor anyone else, say anything that might prejudice a criminal trial relating to a matter of national security,” Kearns reacted Monday. “I will not be commenting further.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the U.K. slammed “the claim that China is suspected of ‘stealing British intelligence'” as “completely fabricated and nothing but malicious slander,” according to The Guardian. The spokesperson reportedly accused the U.K. of engaging in “anti-China political manipulation” and enacting a “self-staged political farce.”

Meanwhile, Germany‘s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) arrested three suspects, Herwig F., Ina F. and the main suspect, Thomas R., in Düsseldorf and Bad Homburg for spying “at a point in time that cannot be precisely determined before June 2022,” according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

Thomas R. was allegedly an operative for an employee of the Chinese secret service, MSS, the outlet reported. He allegedly used the other two suspects, a couple, to collect information about sensitive military technologies, according to the outlet.

The couple reportedly run a company that had allegedly agreed to a deal with researchers and scientists at a German university on behalf of a Chinese entity. The deal was with regard to an allegedly Chinese government-financed project to manufacture high-end machine parts for use in powerful combat ships, the outlet reported. This alleged action reportedly violated the German Foreign Trade and Payments act.

One of the three also allegedly acquired a laser in Germany using money from the MSS and allegedly exported it to China in contravention of the European Union’s Dual-Use Regulation, prosecutors said, according to the outlet

Last week, German authorities arrested two German-Russian citizens were alleged to have spied on a U.S. military base and other sites for Russia. Polish authorities also arrested a man, Pawel K., alleging he intended to pass security information on an airport controlled by US troops to Russian intelligence as part of an alleged plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, The Associated Press reported.