In the past few years, there were many instances of China employed agents trying to recruit people to act as spies, over the pretext of granting diverse job opportunities.
In a first, Jun Wei Yeo, an alumni of Singapore’s most prestigious Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy had confessed acting as an agent of Chinese propaganda. Jun Wei Yeo used LinkedIn as a platform to seek resumes of many to contribute to the Chinese spy activities. It was found that Microsoft owned LinkedIn was used to gain credibility and trust. This led to a lot of people sending their resumes and letting the Chinese government get access to sensitive data.
Sadly, Microsoft owned LinkedIn has not issued any official statement to address the issue or disclose details about such fake account activities.
It was found that, China has been engaging itself into espionage activities for many years now using fake IDs, especially LinkedIn.
The spy network worked in three stages. First, it spots a high-ranking official who has access to government data. For an example : a scientist working on top secret ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) program. After identifying the target, a fiduciary relationship is development. It is in fact, the process on which most emphasis is laid upon. Lastly, the target is recruited.
Huang Jing a Chinese-American professor was expelled from Singapore for being an “agent of influence of a foreign country.” He was also Yeo’s PhD supervisor.
Yeo had given statements about how he was contacted by some Chinese, the same way. In spite of being aware of the fact that he was contacted by Chinese intelligence agents, Yeo continued his activities.
China has been under a continuous scanner for instigating cyber-attacks worldwide, with the recent one being an attack on Australian government and its departments, in order to collect COVID-19 data.
Mr. Yeo (39 years old) has now been sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence by the U.S. court for being an agent of foreign power. Because of this, the U.S.-China relationship has fallen to a new low. It is hard to configure about what is going to happen next with the ongoing trade war and coronavirus pandemic.
By Ridha Dhawan
Member, REPORTER’S COMMITTEE