“The arrested man is suspected of having, at the request of another country, illegally gathered information about people in the Tibetan community in Sweden. The information has been passed on to intelligence officers working for a foreign power.”
SAPO Press Release
“This is a very serious crime because spying affects very vulnerable people. Refugees must be able to feel confident that they can freely use their constitutional freedoms, for example to protest against a regime without risking persecution or other abuse.”
“The offence is considered gross because it was systematic, in progress for a long time and may have caused many people serious harm.”
Mats Ljungqvist — Sweden state prosecutor
Sweden has arrested a man suspected of spying on Tibetan refugees for an unnamed foreign power. Update I — The man was paid by China to collect private information on his fellow Tibetans. Update II (June 15 2018) — Dorjee Gyantsan, 49, was handed a 22-month prison term. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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UPDATE (June 16 2018) — Dorjee Gyantsan, 49, was found guilty by the Soderton District Court near Stockholm of collecting information on the identities, political views, and travel of fellow Tibetans living in Sweden, according to a June 15 report by the Associated Press. He was handed a 22-month prison term.
Speaking to Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service on Friday, Jamyang Choedon, president of the Tibetan Community in Sweden, voiced relief that a “clear conclusion” on the question of Gyantsan’s guilt had finally been reached.
“We Tibetans in Sweden fully support, agree with, and support the court’s decision,” Choedon said.
“As Tibetan refugees in Sweden, our only thought is to help each other rather than harm each other, so when we first heard the news of this Chinese spying, we were shocked, and we couldn’t believe it,” she said.
Gyantsan, who spied for China from July 2015 to February 2017, had passed the information to a Chinese intelligence officer in Poland, for which the court said he had been paid 50,000 kroner (U.S. $6,000) on at least one occasion, AP said in its report.
END of UPDATE
February 26 2017 — The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) would not disclose his name or nationality, nor which country he was working for or where in Sweden he was spying. The man, who has lived in Sweden for several years, was arrested on Sunday (26/02/2017).
“The man is suspected of having illegally collected information on exiled Tibetans, and passing on the information to a foreign power”, said SAPO in a statement on Monday.
“It happened in more than one location, and it happened over a period of time’ said the newspaper.
The security police were able to see how this man had been working in the Tibetan environmental movement, and gained his information there, which he later passed on to intelligence officers”, said Nina Odermalm Schej, the press manager at SAPO, to TT news agency.
Säpo Spokesman Simon Bynert told AFP the preliminary investigation is classified. SAPO refused to say whether the foreign power involved was China.
UPDATE (April 12 2018) — The Tibetan man — who had been arrested on February 26 2018 — was charged with “gross illegal intelligence activity.”
The charge carries a sentence ranging from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of four years in jail.
Dorjee Gyantsan (49) worked for the radio station “Voice of Tibet”. He is currently free but not allowed to leave Sweden.
Sweden’s security service, SAPO, have established that he gathered information among Tibetans in Sweden and then handed it over to an intelligence officer from China.
Mr Gyantsan met a representative of the Chinese state repeatedly in Poland. When arrested on his last return from Warsaw, he was carrying $6,000 in cash.
END of UPDATE
The Swedish Security Service (Swedish: Säkerhetspolisen abbreviated Säpo, until 1989 Rikspolisstyrelsens säkerhetsavdelning abbreviated RPS/Säk) is a Swedish government agency organised under the Ministry of Justice.
SAPO operates like a security agency responsible for counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, the protection of dignitaries and the constitution. The Swedish Security Service is also tasked with investigating crimes against national security and terrorist crimes. [WIKIPEDIA]
Bengt Anders Ingvar Thornberg (born 1959) is the current Director-General and Head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), appointed on 5 July 2012. Thornberg has been an employee of the security service since 1990, notably serving as deputy chief of the security service (from July 1, 2011).
Refugee espionage is usually aimed at preventing people from expressing criticism against the regime in their home countries.
Regimes also spy on refugees to find out who has fled the country, why, and where they are now — or to put pressure on family members who have stayed behind.
Tibetan Community in Sweden
Some 130 Tibetans live in Sweden. The head of the organisation Tibetan Community in Sweden is Nyima Sherlhokangsar.
Man gripen för flyktingspionage — Säkerhetspolisen (Official Website) 27 February 2017
Flyktingspionage (Refugee Espionage): Definition — Säkerhetspolisen (Official Website)
Tibet group thanks Sweden in ‘Chinese spy’ case — BBC (April 13 2018)
Tibetan Man Convicted in Sweden of Spying For China — RFA (June 15 2018)
Sweden: Man arrested for spying on Tibetan refugees [UPDATE]
Sweden — Man Arrested For Spying On Tibetan Refugees [UPDATE II]