Indian police arrested a local journalist alleging spying for China

(File/AFP)
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Updated 19 September 2020

Indian police arrested a local journalist alleging spying for China

  • One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence”
  • The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region

NEW DELHI: Police in India’s capital city on Saturday said they had arrested a local freelance journalist on allegations he was passing “sensitive information” to Chinese intelligence officers.
In a statement, the Delhi Police said 61-year-old Rajeev Sharma was arrested earlier this week and officers had seized some confidential documents related to the Indian defense department from the journalist’s residence.
One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence.”
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
Reuters could not immediately reach any of the three individuals, who are under arrest, or their lawyers.
“On interrogation, Rajeev Sharma has disclosed his involvement in procurement of secret/sensitive information and further conveying the same to his Chinese handlers,” Delhi’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said in the statement.
The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region. The relationship between the neighbors has worsened since a clash in June that India says of 20 of its troops were killed.
China suffered “far fewer” than the 20 deaths incurred by India’s military in the clash, according to a tweet this week by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
The police said Sharma was tasked with providing information on India-China boundary issues and other matters in recent years.
It added that between January 2019 and September 2020, Sharma received more than 3 million Indian rupees ($40,799.67) from one of his handlers.
India has in recent months banned several Chinese apps and made it tougher for Chinese companies to make investments.


Thailand suspends TV station over protests coverage

Updated 20 October 2020

Thailand suspends TV station over protests coverage

  • Thailand said on Monday that three other media organizations are under investigation
  • Protests have only gained momentum since the government announced a ban last Thursday and arrested dozens of protesters

BANGKOK: A Thai court on Tuesday ordered the suspension of an online TV station critical of the government, which has accused it of violating emergency measures aimed at ending three months of protests.
Voice TV had also been found to have breached the Computer Crime Act by uploading “false information,” digital ministry spokesman Putchapong Nodthaisong told reporters.
Thailand has drawn criticism from rights groups for banning demonstrations and the publication of news seen as damaging by the government as it tries to end the protests against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and the powerful monarchy.
Rittikorn Mahakhachabhorn, Editor-in-Chief of Voice TV, said it would continue broadcasting until the court order arrived.
“We insist that we have been operating based on journalistic principles and we will continue our work presently,” he said.
Thailand said on Monday that three other media organizations are under investigation.
Voice TV is owned in part by the Shinawatra family of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck, who was overthrown by Prayuth in a 2014 coup. Both fled Thailand to escape corruption cases they branded political.
Street protests since mid-July are the biggest challenge in decades to the monarchy under King Maha Vajiralongkorn and to Prayuth, who rejects accusations of engineering an election last year to keep power.
The demonstrations have been largely led by youths and students in contrast with a decade of street violence between supporters of Thaksin and conservative royalists before Prayuth seized power.
Protests have only gained momentum since the government announced a ban last Thursday and arrested dozens of protesters, including many of the main leaders.
A lawyer for two of them, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, said they would be arrested again on Tuesday as soon as they had been freed on bail granted by a court over earlier charges related to the protests.
Prime Minister Prayuth has said he will not quit in the face of the protests.
His cabinet agreed on Tuesday to hold an emergency session of parliament next week about the crisis. Prayuth’s supporters hold a majority in the parliament, whose upper house was named entirely by his former junta.