China media says Spavor sent Kovrig photos of military equipment

China arrested Spavor and Kovrig on espionage charges in December 2018 [File: Jason Redmond / AFP]
China arrested Spavor and Kovrig on espionage charges in December 2018

China’s Global Times tabloid says Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who was convicted of espionage in August, sent photographs of military equipment to fellow Canadian Michael Kovrig, who is also being held in Beijing.

The state-run newspaper, citing an unidentified source, said on Thursday that the photos and videos Spavor took of the equipment were state secrets.

It said Spavor took the images on “multiple occasions and illegally provided some of those photos to people outside China”.

“The photos and videos have been identified as second-tier state secrets.”

Spavor was also a “key informant” for Kovrig, it added, “and provided him with information over a long period”.

China arrested the two men in December 2018, soon after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, on a United States warrant, charging her with sanctions-related fraud.

China, which rejects the accusation that the cases of the two Canadians are linked to Meng’s, has released few details on either case.

Last month, a court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage, drawing condemnation from the US and Canada. Ottawa has accused China of engaging in “hostage diplomacy”.

Kovrig’s espionage trial concluded in March with the verdict to be announced at an unspecified date. The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper.

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