British intelligence officers, during a routine inspection of the fleet of diplomatic and government departments, discovered a Chinese-made tracking device that transmits location information.
Publishing house inews.co.uk talked with a serving British intelligence officer on condition of anonymity. According to him, the cars were “surgically dismantled to the last screw” by the security services, as a result of which “rather disturbing things” were found.
At least one SIM card was secretly installed in one of the cars. Such cards are able to track the movement of vehicles and send data back to government suppliers in China. At the same time, the discovered SIM card could be used for months and even years, of course, without the knowledge of passengers.
SMI cards are embedded in electronic control units responsible for the smooth operation of the engine. Mostly such cards are made in China and supplied to car manufacturers in the form of sealed blocks. Tellingly, due to warranty and commercial agreements, manufacturers may not know that they are installing a spy device in a car.
According to anonymous sources of the publication from intelligence structures, the discovered device indicates a wider approach of China to listening to Western officials and diplomats. The Chinese Embassy in Britain, however, strongly dismissed the allegations of surveillance of British officials as “baseless”:
“We strongly oppose political manipulation of normal economic and trade cooperation or any slander against Chinese enterprises.”
Downing Street declined to comment. Over the past years, Western countries have actively resisted China’s attempts to spy through communications, in particular 5G, where Chinese technologies are actively used. Last November, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the “golden era” in relations between the UK and China is over, and London needs a new approach to the Chinese government.