Chinese government ‘puppeteer’ who allegedly tried to interfere in Australian election named by Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching


A Chinese billionaire has been named by a federal senator as the “puppeteer” at the heart of Beijing’s foiled intervention in the Australian election.

A federal Labor senator has named businessman Chau Chak Wing as the alleged “puppeteer” in a Chinese government plot to interfere in Australia’s election.

The ASIO chief was questioned several times on Monday night during Senate estimates on revelations he made last week about a foiled foreign spy ring.

Director General of Intelligence Mike Burgess declined to reveal the foreign government, the party at the center of the plot or the foreign agent he described as the “puppeteer”.

However, he was quizzed by Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching over the identity of the businessman after she claimed to know who it was.

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“I am reliably informed that the puppeteer mentioned in your case study in your annual threat assessment speech last week is Chau Chak Wing,” Senator Kitching said.

“I believe it’s Chau Chak Wing. Are you able to confirm that it is Chau Chak Wing? »

Dr Chau was previously accused of being an agent of the Communist Party but was awarded $590,000 following a defamation lawsuit against the ABC and Nine over a 2017 episode of Four Corners.

Mr Burgess refused to confirm or deny the Labor senator’s claims – which are protected by parliamentary privilege – and hit back at Ms Kitching for her ‘unfair’ questioning.

“Senator, as I have said before, I will not comment on speculation about who is and who is not targeted in general or in particular,” he said.

“I think it’s unfair for you to ask me that question in public.”

It comes a week after Mr Burgess described the failed plot during his annual threat assessment, where he said a foreign government planted a wealthy individual to ‘undermine Australia’s sovereignty’.

He said the “puppeteer” had been secretly controlled by the government in question.

Mr Burgess also said the agent had hired another person to help him in his efforts to ‘undermine Australia’s sovereignty’ by influencing pre-selections to handpick political candidates in an upcoming election.

“The goal was not just to get candidates into positions of power, but also to generate a sense of appreciation, obligation and debt that could then be tapped into,” he said.

It was later revealed that Chinese spies had tried to influence NSW Labor’s pre-selections for the upcoming election.


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