Canadian police arrest Toronto man on suspicion of spying for China

TORONTO Sun Dec 1, 2013 1:27pm EST

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a Toronto man suspected of seeking to give China classified information about Canadian shipbuilding procurement policies, security officials said on Sunday.

Jennifer Strachan, a chief superintendent with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, told a news conference that Canadian citizen Qing Quentin Huang, 53, faced two charges of attempting to communicate with a foreign entity.

"On Thursday the RCMP was informed that the accused was taking steps to pass on information of a classified nature to China," she told a rare weekend news conference.

"In these types of cases, sharing of information may give a foreign entity a tactical, military or competitive advantage by knowing the specifications of vessels responsible for defending Canadian waters and Canadian sovereignty."

Strachan said Huang, who was arrested on Saturday, had worked for a subcontractor involved in ship design. She declined to say what information Huang had tried to provide to China, but said there was no threat to public safety.

Canada has had a complicated relationship with China, with official efforts to boost trade and improve business ties at times conflicting with deep concern about the role that Chinese state-owned entities should be allowed to have in Canada.

Canada last year allowed state-owned energy company CNOOC Ltd to buy up domestic energy producer Nexen Inc, but made clear that it would not allow further purchases of domestic oil sands companies by state-owned enterprises.

Huang was arrested just days after Canada's official spending watchdog said the government has underestimated the costs of a multibillion-dollar naval shipbuilding plan and will either have to build fewer ships or settle for vessels with fewer capabilities than it initially planned.

The new ships will play an important role as Canada asserts sovereignty claims in the Arctic, a disputed region that is rich in energy and mineral resources.

The news conference announcing Huang's arrest involved officials from many Canadian security agencies, including several police forces, border services and the secretive spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The Toronto resident, who police said appeared to have been acting alone, will appear in court for a bail hearing on Wednesday. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

(Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (4)
Canadian sovereignty??? LOL

Dec 01, 2013 2:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
b_wayne wrote:
The allegation is incredibly weak.

- Lloyd’s Register does not build ships. They provide quality assurance and certification for ships, mostly commercial.

- The engineer was working the Arctic Patrol Ship Project. It is a project to buy ice breakers, which has no weapons. It has no military application unless you want to annex the arctic.

- The engineer doesn’t even have access to any sensitive data, according to the company. The police didn’t claim otherwise.

- He was arrested after a grand total of 2! days of investigation after the anonymous tip. This is an unusually short time, especially when they arrested the last convicted Canadian spy, Jeffrey Delisle, after a total 2 months of investigation. This navy intelligence officer worked on WAY more sensitive stuff than the engineer here.

Dec 02, 2013 12:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
shiba-ken wrote:
@b_wayne

…If the allegations were incredibly weak, then why was he formally charged? Why did it warrant so many security agencies & CSIS to be involved? And if those allegations you say were weak, why so agencies involved? It would have been dismissed earlier. Obviously, there was enough evidence to charge him and build a case against him from their investigation. The article also did not state how long he was under investigation only that he was formally charged… that was based on your own conclusion.

Where did it say in this article it was an anonymous tip? I’m curious…

Dec 02, 2013 8:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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