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‘Sexpionage:’ Are China’s hotel rooms bugged?

What could have been a dull security conference in Canada yesterday turned into a pretty interesting one when a former diplomat discussed how the Chinese government gets at foreign political targets and high-profile business people.

The Chinese government uses “sexpionage” – often in hotels – to get the job done, former Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam told conference goers, according to accounts by Canadian news outlets including the National Post and Vancouver Sun.

The racy charge comes as all of the USA’s hotel giants including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Carlson and Hyatt scramble to operate new hotels in China.

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The Chinese government recruits many of its informants by catching them in the act in carefully planned liaison, the stories say, citing McAdam.

“Virtually all” hotels in China are rigged with hidden microphones and video cameras, McAdam told audience, although he did not elaborate or say whether guest rooms at any U.S.-brand hotels may be rigged. McAdam now specializes in Chinese organized crime, the Sun says.

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“Sexpionage is far more effective than any technological surveillance by satellite or anything else,” McAdam said, according to the Sun. “It’s so easy and it doesn’t cost much: They hire a prostitute, she does her work, and they have a film — instead of complex spying.”

The goal, the National Post reports, is “to trap unwary Westerners in ‘honey pot traps.’ Men of influence are often targeted and face trumped up charges of rape or attempted rape and are forced to co-operate or face jail time.”

“They want to capture people in shameful activities — alleging sex with minors is a common method used,” he said.

The strategy’s common enough that the British and French secret services now warn high-profile business people about the danger, he said, according to the National Post. The story quotes McAdam:

“People say they won’t fall for it but they do. Executives with a heavy travel schedule turn up in Shanghai or Beijing jet-lagged and find themselves in need of affection. People succumb.”

The topic comes as a Canadian politician has been ensnared in a scandal over his relationship with a female, Toronto-based reporter for China’s news agency, the Toronto Star notes.

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