British Government officials travelling to the G20 summit in China have been warned to excercise vigilance against 'honeypot' spies, who may attempt to lure them in using sex.
Strong security warnings have been issued to members of Theresa May’s entourage in Hangzhou, where the summit is being held.
Security officers fear Chinese agents and hackers will attempt to use the G20 as an opportunity to steal intelligence from the British Government.
China has a fearsome reputation for aggressively pursuing cyber-espionage on visiting politicians, and for utilising some more old fashioned tactics.
Officials have been warned their hotel rooms are likely to be bugged. “We have been told that if you feel uncomfortable about people seeing you naked, you should get changed under your bedclothes,” a Whitehall source told The Telegraph.
Staff have also been issued with temporary phones and email accounts, the newspaper reported, in an attempt to thwart potential hackers. In addition, they are being urged not to hold onto any gifts – particularly electronic – given to them by their Chinese hosts, such as USB sticks and phone chargers.
In addition, beatiful female agents - known as 'honeypots' - have allegedly been used by Chinese intelligence services to lure in foreign politicians' parties before. British officials have apparently been no exception to this - the most well-known reported incident was in 2008 when a member of Gordon Brown’s entourage took a woman to his Shanghai hotel room and woke up without his Blackberry and documents.
As expected, security around this year’s G20 is extremely tight. Many Hangzhou residents have been moved out of the city all together, taking advantage of extra holiday time and free travel vouchers distributed by the authorities. Remaining residents were reluctant to speak to journalists visiting the city.
The tense atmosphere was demonstrated by an argument between a Chinese official and Susan Rice, national security advisor to Barack Obama, soon after the president’s plane landed. The unnamed official attempted to prevent Ms Rice walking to the official motorcade as she crossed a media rope line, Reuters reported. It is unknown if the Chinese official believed Ms Rice to be a journalist.
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