Prague, Nov 26 (CTK) – Chinese espionage activity was growing in the Czech Republic last year, especially in the academic community, security forces and civil service, according to the Czech Security Information Service (BIS) report for 2018.
“The BIS has detected a growing number of Chinese invitations addressed to Czech citizens, inviting them to training courses, seminars and sight-seeing tours. The Chinese side offers to cover all costs and provides an allowance on top,” the BIS said, adding that China is creating a contact network of persons who are positively inclined to it and ready to accommodate its wishes.
“The highest risk, from an intelligence point of view, is the physical presence of the guest on Chinese soil. In order to approach the persons of interest, Chinese intelligence services usually use their stay in China or in a third country,” the report stated.
The report notes that when approaching potential Czech sources, the Chinese intelligence officers use, for example, the LinkedIn social network.
China is also trying to disrupt the political and economic relations between the Czech Republic and Taiwan.
“Representatives of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) were making maximum effort to gain information about the bilateral cooperation and could subsequently react with speed, their goal being the weakening of the Czech Republic’s contacts with Taiwan,” the BIS said.
The service also addressed the activities of Iranian intelligence operatives in the Czech Republic, warning that there may be individuals linked to the Iranian intelligence community among the regular businessmen trying to take part in the development of Czech-Iranian business projects.
The counterintelligence service also reminded of the operation it ended last year, during which it was monitoring the hacker servers of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah Shia movement.
The attackers operated from Lebanon and used several servers in the Czech Republic in 2017 and 2018. The servers then created fake social media profiles of attractive women and tried to convince their targets to install a modified application that leaked sensitive data from their phones.