Canadians Charged With Spying in China Collected National Security Information – Report
© REUTERS / LINDSEY WASSONPeople hold placards calling for China to release Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig outside a court hearing for Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, March 6, 2019.
© REUTERS / LINDSEY WASSON
TORONTO, (Sputnik) – Canadians charged with espionage in China collected a treasure trove of sensitive information about the country’s national security infrastructure, the Global Times reported on Wednesday citing sources.
To date, little has been known about the circumstances which led to the arrest of businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who were tried in closed proceedings in March. Last month, a Chinese court in the city of Dandong sentenced Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for spying with confiscation of property and deportation.
According to the Global Times, Spavor, who ran a cultural exchange business between North Korea and China from the northern Chinese region of Yanbian, photographed and videotaped Chinese military equipment, later forwarding the images to Kovrig as well as sources outside of the country.
The photos and videos taken contained "second-tier state secrets", the report said.
Kovrig, who has not received a verdict in his case, allegedly gathered a large cache of information on matters of Chinese national security through associates, based on which he wrote analytical reports. The data compiled by Kovrig allegedly also contained second-tier state secrets as well as intelligence information.
The two Canadian nationals, who Ottawa maintains were arbitrarily detained in retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, are in good health, according to the report.
Spavor and Kovrig have been in Chinese custody since December 2018.
Meanwhile, Meng, who is wanted by the US on fraud charges, remains under house arrest in Vancouver - although is free to traverse the region outside of her 11:00 p.m to 6:00 a.m. curfew – is awaiting to hear a Canadian judge’s decision on the US Justice Department’s extradition request.
British Columbia Supreme Court Associate Justice Heather Holmes is expected to give her recommendation on the United States' extradition request to Attorney General and Justice Minister David Lametti sometime after the next case management conference on October 21. Lametti has the final say on the request and has the right to refuse extradition in exceptional circumstances.
Analysts say Lametti’s decision could hinge on the fate of the "two Michaels" – as the pair is referred to at home.