Poland arrests Chinese businessman suspected of spying

A paramilitary police officer cycles past the embassy of Canada in Beijing China Dec. 12 2018. REUTERS  Thomas Peter

A paramilitary police officer cycles past the embassy of Canada in Beijing China Dec. 12 2018. REUTERS Thomas Peter

Along with the Chinese national, whose name has been reported as Weijinga W., the Polish counterintelligence service, the Internal Security Agency (ABW), arrested Polish national Piotr D., the ABW's own former employee, Polish broadcaster TVP reports.

The Chinese suspect is an employee of Huawei, Poland's public television channel TVP said.

Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland's Special Services agency, said the operation that resulted in the arrests of the two suspects had been underway for a long time.

USA intelligence agencies allege Huawei is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by government spies.

TVP reported that the men have proclaimed their innocence, but Zaryn said he could not confirm that.

The pair are set to remain in custody for at least three months and apparently face up to ten years in prison.

The development comes as a US dispute with China over a ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's biggest foreign market, where some countries are also starting to shun its network systems over data security concerns. According to Reuters, the police had also raided the officers of Orange Polska, where the Polish national works.

Local media identified the Chinese man as a Huawei official but the company has not confirmed the claim.

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Nonetheless, intelligence bods recommended banning the use of the kit, and official blocks are in place for state-funded projects in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Huawei told the BBC it had no immediate comment.

The detention comes after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of United States law enforcement officials.

Huawei said in a statement from its Chinese headquarters that they are looking into the situation in Poland.

"We have no comment for the time being".

The arrests mark escalating concerns among western governments about the Chinese company's activities.

It added: "Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based". She was granted bail but remains in Vancouver under 24-hour surveillance.

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