Israel suspects mugs gifted by Chinese embassy to ministers were bugged, launches probe
The incident was first reported on Tuesday morning by Army Radio's diplomatic correspondent Moriah Asraf-Walberg, claiming that the mugs gifted by the Chinese embassy appeared to be planted with listening device
Israel investigation officials have initiated a probe after it was claimed that gifts given by the Chinese embassy in Israel to an Israeli minister and government officials were planted with listening devices, local Israeli media reported.
The incident was first reported on Tuesday morning by Army Radio's diplomatic correspondent Moriah Asraf-Walberg, claiming that the mugs gifted by the Chinese embassy appeared to be planted.
According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, quoting diplomatic officials, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) have started their investigation.
The gift was reportedly sent to the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry earlier this week apparently without any prior announcement from the Chinese Embassy.
The newspaper claims that the security found the device before it reached Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen.
There are more reports claiming that similar gits were received by the office of Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli.
In lieu of the so-called spy incident, all the government offices have been told to be extra careful about receiving gifts from foreign entities as “they may contain listening devices or cameras”, the Times of Israel reported.
A similar incident was reported in 2018 when the French newspaper Le Monde claimed that China had bugged the African Union’s headquarters, which Beijing had built and paid for in Addis Ababa.
The article claimed that data was being transferred to Chinese since 2012 and it was only spotted in 2017 due to the spike in activity between midnight and 02:00, despite no one being in the building.
The newspaper, quoting anonymous sources, claimed that following the discovery of the alleged data transfer, the AU officials changed their servers.
(With inputs from agencies)