UK Royal Navy Ends Hiring of Chinese Personnel Due to Espionage Concerns

The British fleet had a long-standing tradition of hiring Chinese personnel, primarily launderers, from Hong Kong, responsible for cleaning and pressing the uniforms of sailors and officers since the 1930s.

27/10/2023 - 10:33
Source: Telegraph
Source: Telegraph

The UK's Royal Navy has decided to cease employing Chinese personnel on board military vessels due to espionage concerns, as reported by citing The Sun.

The Royal Navy chose to replace these Chinese workers with Nepalese Gurkhas in response to fears that Beijing might attempt to use Chinese workers to gain access to confidential information within the Royal Navy.

The decision to end the tradition came to light when three Chinese citizens were denied access to the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest vessel of the Royal Navy, while the fleet was deployed in the disputed South China Sea. A fourth Chinese laundry worker, who had been with the Navy for 39 years, was released from his duties this month due to his family residing in Hong Kong.

At present, at least four Chinese citizens still work within the Royal Navy. They have successfully undergone security checks since their families have relocated to the UK.

This development occurs amid growing concerns about increased Chinese espionage activities and their persistent efforts to steal military secrets and confidential information. Chinese spies are known to monitor British officials in key political, defense, and business positions. British nuclear submarines are of particular interest to the Chinese side.

In March, a parliamentary researcher was arrested on suspicion of espionage for China. Despite denying any involvement in espionage, the researcher's arrest led to calls from British parliament members for a tougher and more resolute approach to countering security threats of this nature.

In September, the UK announced that former British Armed Forces personnel who trained Chinese pilots could face legal consequences and potential prosecution for sharing military tactics with a foreign state.



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