Prior to their trip to the G20 summit, British officials had been warned against China’s “honey traps.”
They come in the form of seductive female attendants who, in theory, are spies out to milk some information from unsuspecting foreigners.
In the worst cases, they steal important documents or classified information. According to The Telegraph, government security chiefs were worried over a repeat of a 2008 incident when one official reportedly lost secret documents after being seduced.
This time, U.K. officials are accompanying new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Delegates to this year’s G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China received temporary mobile phones and email addresses. In addition, they were instructed to be vigilant of electronic devices, which may come in the forms of memory sticks and SIM cards.
Apparently, gifts may be accepted, but they are not to be kept.
The 2008 incident occurred in Washington with the visit of then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Damien McBride, his special advisor, took note of the scandal in a 2013 memoir.
McBride said the officials were, “accosted on one side by a beautiful posse of Chinese girls and on the other side by an equivalent group of Russian blondes.”
He recounted seeing one of their number disappear with one of the girls.
“He woke up the following morning ‘minus his Blackberry and half the contents of his briefcase’.”
Theresa May and Chinese president Xi Jinping met on Monday. May expressed seeing a ‘golden era’ for China-UK relations, with the development of a global strategic partnership imminent.
On the other hand, Xi concluded that the U.K. “has played an important role” in achieving the summit’s success, The Guardian cited.