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Debt-laden student worked with spies

By Yang Zekun | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-12 09:43

The Ministry of State Security has disclosed a case in which a university student engaged in espionage activities due to debt problems and then attempted to evade punishment by reporting fake leads to the ministry while trying to determine if it was investigating him.

The case was revealed in a post on the ministry's WeChat account on Tuesday that advised people who have participated in espionage to surrender promptly.

In June last year, an informant surnamed He called the ministry's 12339 hotline and claimed to be a university student who had been approached by a foreign spy agency asking him to provide "official documents", which he adamantly refused to do.

However, He further claimed that, to help the ministry catch the agency in the act, he had contacted the agency himself and "tricked" it into giving him tens of thousands of yuan to engage in espionage.

National security officers promptly met with He and inquired about the details. During the conversation, he was evasive and provided inconsistent answers regarding his claims of being contacted by foreign spies and duping them out of money, according to the post.

Following an investigation, officers found that He was a university student known for his extravagant spending, which led him to incur significant debt at a young age. While dreaming up ways to make money, he came up with the idea of collecting State secrets and then approaching foreign spy agencies to sell what he learned.

He used a non-Chinese social media platform to establish contact with a foreign spy agency, the WeChat post said. Under the agency's guidance, he made multiple illegal visits to restricted military zones to take photographs and extract classified information from related personnel, receiving tens of thousands of yuan for his efforts.

Aware that his actions constituted espionage, He became paranoid. Consequently, he orchestrated the fake report about the foreign spy agency contacting him, hoping to present himself as a good citizen while trying to determine if the national security agency was investigating him.

During the investigation, national security officers determined He was lying and confronted him, scolding him for his activities. He later voluntarily disclosed details of the contacts he had made with the foreign spy agency, as well as information he had gleaned from working with it.

Due to his confession and his provision of counterespionage information, He received lenient punishment.

In the post, the ministry said individuals who have committed espionage should not harbor any illusions about concealing the truth in an effort to evade punishment. Those who voluntarily surrender or make meritorious contributions may receive leniency or even exemption from punishment, it said.

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