Germany arrests three people on suspicion of spying for China

CNNThree people in Germany have been arrested under suspicion of spying for China, while two people have been charged in the United Kingdom for espionage offenses.

Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said three German nationals, two men and a woman, were arrested for allegedly violating the country’s Foreign Trade and Payments Act.

“Allegations suggest the suspects have had ties to a Chinese secret service since before June 2022,” the German prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

The arrest warrants identify the three according to German law enforcement custom, with only the individuals’ first names and the first initial of their last names made public.

One man, Thomas R., is alleged to have acted as an agent for a Chinese Ministry of State Security employee, gathering information on German military technologies.

The prosecutor’s office alleged that Thomas R. used the other two suspects – Herwig F. and Ina F., operators of a Düsseldorf-based company – to establish connections within the German scientific community.

The couple are accused of buying and exporting a specialized laser to China without authorization, violating European Union regulations.

On Monday and Tuesday, the investigating judge in the case will proclaim the trio’s arrest warrant and decide upon their pre-trial detention.

Germany’s justice minister Marco Buschmann congratulated the prosecutor’s office in a post on social media platform X, writing that the arrests highlighted the need to stay vigilant.

Separately in the UK, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced charges against two men who allegedly breached the UK’s Official Secrets Act on behalf of China.

Nick Price, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service Counter Terrorism Division has today authorized the Metropolitan Police to charge two men with espionage offences.”

The two men, who the CPS is naming, “will be charged with providing prejudicial information to a foreign state, China,” it said.

The pair will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on Friday, the CPS added.