ASIO investigating claims China tried to plant a spy in Australian parliament
Authorities are investigating claims China tried to plant a spy inside the Australian Parliament.
It’s alleged a Chinese intelligence group offered one million dollars to Melbourne car dealer Bo “Nick” Zhao to run as a Liberal Party candidate.
The claims, aired on 60 Minutes last night, were made by former Chinese spy, Wang “William” Liqiang, who has betrayed his country and is seeking asylum in Australia.
ASIO says it was aware and “has been actively investigating” the allegations after Zhao was found dead in a hotel room in March, shortly after telling Australian authorities about the offer.
ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess has made a rare public statement saying, “hostile foreign intelligence activity continues to pose a real threat to our nation and its security” (full statement below).
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed the issue, saying he finds the allegations “deeply disturbing and troubling” and promising to support ASIO’s investigation.
The federal government is now “seriously considering” asylum for the former Chinese spy.
Full statement from ASIO Director-General of Security, Mike Burgess
“The reporting on Nine’s Sixty Minutes contains allegations that ASIO takes seriously.
As the Director-General of Security, I am committed to protecting Australia’s democracy and sovereignty.
Australians can be reassured that ASIO was previously aware of matters that have been reported today, and has been actively investigating them.
However, in accordance with long-standing practice, I will not comment on this particular operational matter, including any detail of the individuals involved. Given that the matter in question is subject to a coronial inquiry, and as not to prejudice our investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
Hostile foreign intelligence activity continues to pose a real threat to our nation and its security. ASIO will continue to confront and counter foreign interference and espionage in Australia.”