Germany arrests three people for alleged involvement in transfer of military technology to China

Germany arrests three people for alleged involvement in transfer of military technology to China

The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office arrested three citizens on suspicion of working for the Chinese secret services to transfer technology with potential military applications on Monday.

Officers of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) in Düsseldorf and Bad Homburg arrested German citizens Gerwig F., Ina F. and Thomas R. (surnames withheld due to privacy concerns) on suspicion of working for the Chinese intelligence service from an unspecified date until June 2022 and of committing a crime against the Law on Foreign Trade and Payments.

The arrest warrants state that Thomas R. was acting as an agent of a Chinese intelligence officer of the MSS and was obtaining information in Germany about innovative technologies that could be used for military purposes. He used a company run by married couple Gerwig F. and Ina F. to establish contacts with the German research community to realize their objectives. Through this company, they entered into a scientific knowledge transfer agreement with a German university. The project aimed to prepare a study on the condition of machine parts important for marine engines used on warships. The Chinese client was an employee of MSS, who financed the project through Chinese government agencies. The suspects also negotiated other research projects that could have enhanced China’s naval combat capabilities.

The prosecutor’s office also alleges that the defendants purchased a special laser in Germany on behalf of and at the expense of the MSS and exported it to China without the necessary authorization, despite this instrument being subject to the EU Dual Use Regulation.

German authorities will bring the suspects before an investigating judge of the Federal Court within a few days. The judge will issue the arrest warrants and decide on a custodial measure.

In response to the arrests, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on X (formerly Twitter) that the area of ​​innovative technologies from Germany that can be used for military purposes that are affected in the current case is particularly sensitive. She noted that it is important to continue to address this issue consistently. Justice Minister Marco Buschmann congratulated the Federal Prosecutor General on the investigative success.

The Chinese embassy in Berlin has not commented on the situation.

Last week, police in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth also arrested two men on suspicion of spying for Russia and trying to undermine German support for Ukraine by planning sabotage attacks.

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