PERTH    -     China denied the explosive claims of a self-confessed spy seeking asylum in Australia, saying Sunday he is a convicted fraudster wanted by Shanghai police. The Nine Network newspapers reported that Chinese defector Wang “William” Liqiang has given Australia’s counterespionage agency inside intelligence on how Beijing conducts its interference operations abroad and revealed the identities of China’s senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong. Wang claimed he was involved in the kidnapping in 2015 of one of five Hong Kong booksellers suspected of selling dissident materials. The incident has been a reference point for protesters during the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. He said he currently was living in Sydney with his wife and infant son on a tourist visa and had requested political asylum. The Chinese Embassy on Sunday hit back at Wang and referenced a statement from Shanghai police, which said Wang was sentenced in Fujian province in October 2016 to one year and three months in prison for fraud with a suspended sentence of 1 ½ year. It said he was wanted in relation to a fraud case from earlier this year. “On April 19, 2019, the Shanghai police opened an investigation into Wang who allegedly cheated 4.6 million yuan from a person surnamed Shu through a fake investment project involving car import in February,” the statement said.



The embassy said Wang left for Hong Kong on April 10 carrying a fake Chinese passport and a fake Hong Kong permanent resident ID.

It said the Shanghai police were investigating the matter.

Wang would be the first Chinese intelligence operative to blow his cover. He told Nine Network he faced detention and possible execution if he returned to China.

Wang claimed he was part of a Hong Kong-based investment firm that was a front for the Chinese government to conduct political and economic espionage in Hong Kong, including infiltrating universities and directing harassment and cyberattacks against dissidents.

Using a South Korean passport, Wang said he meddled in Taiwan’s 2018 municipal elections and claimed there were plans to disrupt the democratic self-ruled island’s presidential election in January.