A suspected Chinese spy has been found hiding in a wardrobe at a Navy base where she had been staying for a fortnight with her aircraft technician lover, according to reports.
The woman is said to have been caught hiding among her lover’s jumpsuits at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset.
The Navy base is home to the Commando Helicopter Force and its Merlin helicopters, as well as a number of Wildcat helicopters – which are due to join aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth when it is deployed to the South China Sea later this year.
The technician, who is part of the Commando unit, has reportedly told his superiors that the woman is his girlfriend and denied she is a Chinese spy.
However, according to the Sun, colleagues believe the man may have fallen victim to a ‘honey trap’ plot.
A ‘honey trap’ is an act of espionage where agents seduce their targets in order to gain secret information.
The paper reports that the woman, who was born in Asia but said to be a Dutch citizen, was escorted from the base by armed guards. She is said to have left the UK immediately.
MailOnline contacted the Ministry of Defence for comment last night. According to the Sun, they have denied there is any ‘suspicion of espionage’.
The woman is said to have been caught hiding among her lover’s jumpsuits at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset (pictured)
The Navy base is home to the Commando Helicopter Force and its Merlin helicopters (pictured), as well as a number of Wildcat helicopters
The Wildcat helicopters are due to join aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (pictured) during its deployment to the South China Sea later this year
However a security source told the paper: ‘It’s got all the hallmarks of a honey trap and Navy chiefs could not afford to take any chances.’
RNAS Yeovilton is home to helicopters set to be used in Navy’s mission to South China Sea
RNAS Yeovilton is a Royal Navy airfield base in Somerset, which is also used by the British Army.
It is home to the Royal Navy Commandos Helicopter force and a number of Merlin and Wildcat helicopters.
Both types of helicopters will take part in the Royal Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Strike Group’s mission to the South China Sea this summer.
The deployment is the first of the Navy’s new £3billion aircraft HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Under current plans, HMS Queen Elizabeth will deploy in May 202.
It will be accompanied by a submarine, HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Kent and HMS Richmond supported by RFA Fort Victoria and a Tide-class tanker.
Though final numbers are yet to be decided, the group will also have eight UK and six United States Marine Corps F-35 jets, as well as nine Merlins Mk2s of the 820 Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.
There will also be an unspecified number of Wildcat helicopters – which are based at Yeovilton.
A Navy source also told the paper the woman was an ‘unauthorised foreign national on Ministry of Defence property’ and described the incident as ‘an astonishing breach’.
According to the Sun, the technician, who is serving with 847 Naval Air Squadron, told Navy bosses he first met the woman on holiday in 2019.
He is said to have sneaked her into the Somerset base in the boot of his car when he returned from Christmas leave.
The incident comes amid rising tensions between the UK and China.
Tensions escalated again last week as the Tories warned the ‘Golden Age’ in relations is over – while Beijing accused the UK of ‘spreading lies’ about human rights abuses.
Last week Boris Johnson lashed out at ‘demented’ Chinese medicine for helping trigger the pandemic, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab threatened fines for firms that profit from slave labour.
The comments came as a damning report backed by a slew of senior Conservatives highlighted a slew of issues including ‘violations of freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, arbitrary disappearances and detention, and force television confessions’.
Ex-Cabinet minister Lord Hague said the UK must have its ‘eyes fully open’ in its ties with China, while Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Tugendhat said: ‘It is clear the Golden Era is over and the UK, and our allies, need to rethink our relations with China’s dictatorship.’
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson earlier this week narrowly avoided an embarrassing Commons defeat on foreign policy tonight as Tory MPs rebelled in an attempt to force a hardline approach to China’s domestic human rights abuses.
The Prime Minister’s working majority of 87 dwindled to just 11 as MPs voted to reverse an amendment to the Trade Bill made by the House of Lords by 319 votes to 308.
Last week Boris Johnson (pictured left yesterday while visiting flood-hit areas in the north-west) lashed out at ‘demented’ Chinese medicine for helping trigger the pandemic, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (pictured right during a visit to Sudan) threatened fines for firms that profit from slave labour
The changes made by peers would have forced ministers to withdraw from any free trade agreement with any country which the High Court rules is committing genocide.
In its sights was the hardline Communist regime in Beijing, which has been accused of appalling human rights abuses against its Uighur Muslim minority in Xianjing, including using them as forced labour.
Liu Xiaoming also claimed last year that some British politicians appear to be ‘clamouring for a new Cold War’ as he insisted China wants to be the UK’s ‘friend’
But China has continued to hit back at the UK over the human rights abuse accusations, which it denies.
Last year Beijing warned the UK it will ‘pay the price’ for treating like a ‘hostile country’ amid rising tensions over, Hong Kong, Huawei and human rights abuses.
China’s ambassador to the UK said in July that Britain will have to ‘bear the consequences’ of its foreign policy decisions and that will mean losing the benefits of being Beijing’s ‘partner’ unless it changes tack.
Liu Xiaoming also claimed some British politicians appear to be ‘clamouring for a new Cold War’ as he insisted China wants to be the UK’s ‘friend’.
The comments came after the UK Government announced earlier that month that it was U-turning on the decision it made in January to grant Huawei a role in building Britain’s new 5G network.
The Chinese tech giant has been banned from the network and all of its existing 5G technology will be stripped out by 2027 over national security concerns.
Meanwhile, Beijing’s decision to impose a controversial national security law on Hong Kong prompted the UK to announce a path to citizenship for three million Hong Kongers with British National (Overseas) status.
The Government has also accused China of ‘gross and egregious’ human rights abuses against its Uighur population in Xinjiang province while also backing calls for an international probe into the origins and handling of the initial coronavirus outbreak.