Friday 6 December 2019

Man found dead in mysterious circumstances was offered $1m by China to run for parliament

Gladys Liu, the Liberals' successful candidate for Chisholm in May, confirmed in September that she had held membership of the Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association, which has been linked to China's foreign interference operations. Stock photo
Gladys Liu, the Liberals' successful candidate for Chisholm in May, confirmed in September that she had held membership of the Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association, which has been linked to China's foreign interference operations. Stock photo

Giovanni Torre

Australian authorities are investigating claims that a man who mysteriously died in March had been approached by a Chinese espionage ring to stand for parliament.

Sources believe that the suspected group offered AUS$1M (€620,000) to fund the campaign of Bo "Nick" Zhao (32) to run for the Liberals in the safe seat of Chisholm in Melbourne.

But Mr Zhao reported the alleged approach to Australia's intelligence agency and was later found dead in his hotel room. The cause of death is yet to be determined.

Mike Burgess, the agency's director-general of security, said: "It would be inappropriate to comment further but hostile foreign intelligence activity continues to pose a real threat to our nation and its security."

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Andrew Hastie, a government back-bench Liberal, said the case was "like something out of a spy novel".

Gladys Liu, the Liberals' successful candidate for Chisholm in May, confirmed in September that she had held membership of the Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association, which has been linked to China's foreign interference operations.

At the time, the organisation reported directly to Beijing's State Council. (© The Daily Telegraph)

Telegraph.co.uk

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