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UK court releases ‘China spying’ suspects on bail

UK court releases 'China spying' suspects on bail
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A UK court on Friday granted conditional bail to two men accused of spying for China, in a case which has heightened Western concern over claims of aggressive Chinese espionage.

British police charged the pair on Monday, on the same day investigators in Germany arrested three German nationals suspected of sharing information on maritime technology with Beijing.

Appearing in a central London court, Christopher Cash, 29, of east London, and Christopher Berry, 32, of Oxfordshire, central England, were not required to enter any pleas.

Cash previously worked at the UK parliament as a researcher.

He and Berry are both accused of an offence under Britain’s counter-espionage Official Secrets Act.

At a brief hearing, magistrate Paul Goldspring ruled both men could be released on conditional bail, with Cash ordered not to contact UK lawmakers or to enter the parliamentary estate.

The pair, who were told not to leave the UK or contact each other, spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

They must register at a police station and notify officers of any internet-enabled devices they intend to use.

Both defendants will next appear at the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London on May 10 for a preliminary hearing.

They are accused of having given “articles, notes, documents or information” to a foreign state.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 2021 and last year.

– Alleged contacts with MPs –


Responding to their arrests and the detentions in Germany, Beijing said on Tuesday that the events were designed to “smear and suppress” China.

London’s Metropolitan Police said in September they had arrested a man in his twenties on spying allegations.

The Sunday Times reported that he was a parliamentary researcher.

The newspaper named him as Cash and said he had had contacts with MPs from the ruling Conservative party.

They included security minister Tom Tugendhat and Alicia Kearns, the chairwoman of the influential House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

Tugendhat was reported to have only had limited contact with the suspect, and none when he was security minister.

In a statement issued by Cash’s lawyers in September, the ex-researcher protested his innocence.

“It is vital that it is known that I am completely innocent,” he was quoted as saying.

“I have spent my career to date trying to educate others about the challenge and threats presented by the Chinese Communist Party.

“To do what has been claimed against me in extravagant news reporting would be against everything I stand for.”


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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