Chinese use honey traps to spy on French companies

London, Feb 2 (ANI): Leaked French intelligence reports have revealed that Chinese spies are using honey traps to extort information in their industrial espionage operations.

A top researcher in a major French pharmaceutical company, who was wined and dined by a Chinese girl who he ended up sleeping with, was just such an example.

"When he was shown the recorded film of the previous night in his hotel room ... he proved highly co-operative," the Telegraph quoted an economic intelligence official as saying.

In another case, an unnamed French company realised too late that a sample of its patented liquid had left the building after the visit of a Chinese delegation.

It turned out one of the visitors had dipped his tie into the liquid to take home a sample in order to copy it.

Experts have warned that French companies should do more to protect themselves from prying eyes among the 30,000 Chinese students who conduct internships in France.

Among the most frequent techniques cited by French intelligence was the so-called "lamprey technique", which usually takes the form of an international tender for business.

"The aim of the project is to attract responses from developed countries," notes the report.

When Western companies vie to respond, they are cajoled and "told to improve their technical offering".

"Each (company) tries to outdo the other, once, twice, several times until the Chinese consider they've had enough," the report revealed.

Once key information has been gathered, the competing bidders are summarily informed that the project has been shelved and the information used by the Chinese to develop its own products.

Another technique is the "mushroom factory", in which French industries create a joint venture with a local Chinese firm and transfer part of their technology.

Soon afterwards, the French "discover that local rivals have emerged to offer identical products and are run by the Chinese head of the company that initiated the joint venture".

The revelations on Chinese spying techniques came as Renault, the French carmaker is embroiled in a massive espionage scandal involving three top executives over allegations they were paid to hand over car secrets to a Chinese firm.

"Espionage or information gathering is not a risk that French executives take seriously. They are thus very vulnerable," Christian Harbulot, head of the School of Economic Warfare in Paris, said. (ANI)

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