Theresa May’s officials have been warned to avoid “honey traps” amid fears that the Prime Minister’s team will be targeted by Chinese spies offering sex during the G20 summit.
British government aides have fallen victim to spying on previous official trips to China, with one Downing Street official reported to have had his mobile phone and secret documents stolen after he was seduced.
British government security chiefs have issued strong warnings to those who are part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s team attending the summit in Hangzhou, the Daily Telegraph reports.
They have told staff they should not accept any gifts and should be particularly wary of electronic devices, such as memory sticks and mobile phone chargers that could potentially be offered by the Chinese.
The UK government is worried that China may use the opportunity to steal secrets from British officials attending the summit or could try and upload spying programs on to their electronic devices.
Officials traveling with May have been given temporary email addresses and mobile phones for the trip to better protect themselves from potential Chinese hackers.
One Whitehall official told the Telegraph that the hotel rooms used by the UK delegation during the summit would likely be bugged.
“We have been told that if you feel uncomfortable about people seeing you naked, you should get changed under your bedclothes,” the source said.
There is precedent for fearing Chinese espionage attempts.
In 2008, a Downing Street official, who was accompanying then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was preyed upon by a beautiful Chinese woman.
The UK official took the Chinese spy back to his hotel room, but woke up to find his Blackberry and documents from his briefcase were missing.
Damien McBride, who was previously Brown’s spin doctor, witnessed the incident, which he recorded in his memoires published in 2013.
The official also had a “very bad headache, owning to the Mickey Finn nightcap his overnight companion had administered to him in his hotel room.”
Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2014 revealed that the UK actually employed the very same “dirty tricks”that it is warning its delegation to Hangzhou to be wary of.
Snowden stated that British intelligence has used sexual “honey traps” to ensnare rival agents, hackers and suspected terrorists, with targets lured “to go somewhere on the internet, or a physical location” where they are then “met by a friendly face.”
Later in 2014, a leaked UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) document said that detailed instructions had been given to British officials that the Russian intelligence, the FSB, may try to compromise and blackmail foreign agents “through knowledge of marital infidelity or sexual activity the target may wish to hide.”
Chinese intelligence, meanwhile, has a “voracious, vast and indiscriminate appetite” for all types of data, and allegedly recurs to blackmail as well.
FAQ | G20
What is it? The G20 is made up of the world’s leading industrialised and emerging economies. The Group of 20 accounts for 85 per cent of world GDP and two-thirds of its population. Much of the important business takes place on the sidelines and in informal meetings.
Which countries are in the G20? UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy. Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Brazil, Argentina and Russia are also part of the club. A representative from the EU is involved too.
Why isn’t every country invited? Because it becomes more difficult to make decisions.
When did Britain last host a summit? 2009 when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister.
When did the meetings start? The first G20 summit of world leaders was held in Washington in 2008 hosted by President George W. Bush when countries coordinated a response to the global financial meltdown.
Is it effective? It has a mixed record. Many believe its failure to deliver on many past pledges raises questions about the credibility of future promises.