BEIJING — A Chinese man who sold 500 pictures of the country’s first aircraft carrier has been detained in a spying investigation, local media reported, the latest web user allegedly exploited by foreign intelligence agencies.
The man, surnamed Zhang, began taking pictures of the Liaoning — a Soviet-era vessel bought from Ukraine — after he was contacted online by an individual claiming to be a “magazine editor,” Dalian Television reported.
Zhang was one of two men detained last year by police in Dalian, the northeastern port where the Liaoning was refitted before going into service in 2012 and has since undergone regular maintenance.
Zhang took pictures of the vessel from April until August when authorities discovered he had 500 pictures of the Liaoning, which had been supplied to his contact.
“Zhang caused a grave threat to the country’s military security,” the report late Monday said.
The other man, surnamed Han, received 90,000 yuan ($14,400) for taking pictures of Chinese military equipment from a “reporter” who contacted him online after he posted his CV seeking employment, according to the report.
“This ‘reporter’ is actually a foreign spy who was being monitored for some time by intelligence agencies,” it said, without giving details of the alleged spy’s allegiance.