Police said on Sunday that a Canadian man has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell classified information to the Chinese government about Canada’s warship building procurement strategy.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Qing Quentin Huang, 53, of Burlington, Ontario, was arrested on Saturday and appeared in court on Sunday.
Chief Superintendent Jennifer Strachan said the suspect is charged with communicating with a foreign entity under the Security of Information Act.
Police said the suspect works for Lloyd Register, a ship design sub-contractor to Irving Shipbuilding.
Authorities said the classified information relates to Canada’s strategy on building patrol ships, frigates, naval auxiliary vessels, science research vessels and ice breakers.
Police said the suspect acted alone in trying to pass information to the Chinese government.
“In these types of cases, sharing of information may give a foreign entity a tactical, military or competitive advantage by knowing the specification of vessels responsible for defending Canadian waters and Canadian sovereignty,” Strachan said.
Strachan called it valuable research and development information. She said it could also provide an unfair competitive and economic advantage.
Police first learned of the situation on Thursday and were able to act swiftly to safeguard the information involved, Strachan said.
“We are confident our prompt and firm intervention has limited the damage to our collective safety and security,” Strachan said.
Stephen Lecce, a spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, praised police for their good work.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintedent Larry Tremblay said Canada’s foreign affairs department has been in contact with their Chinese counterparts.
The suspect is due back in court tomorrow for a bail hearing. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) rejected the allegations.
“The relevant reports about a Canadian man suspected of providing information to the Chinese government are completely baseless,” Hong told a daily news briefing in Beijing yesterday.
A Canadian navy intelligence officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February last year after pleading guilty to selling military secrets to Russia.
Sub-lieutenant Jeffrey Paul Delisle worked at a naval intelligence center and had access to information shared by Canada, the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Delisle admitted that he walked into the Russian embassy in Ottawa in 2007 and offered his services for money.
Additional reporting by Reuters