The case of a Singaporean caught spying for China in the United States has reawakened fears over China recruiting intelligence assets on an island state which has won trust among Western governments while keeping on good terms with Beijing.
Jun Wei Yeo, a 39-year-old academic who also goes by the name Dickson Yeo, pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Friday to acting as an illegal agent of Chinese intelligence. He will be sentenced in October and faces up to 10 years in prison.
Singapore’s home ministry said in a brief statement on Sunday that it had been aware of Yeo’s case since his arrest by U.S. authorities in November, and he is receiving consular assistance.
Court documents show Yeo was lured into becoming a Chinese asset four years earlier while attending a forum in Beijing to give a presentation on Southeast Asian politics. He moved to the United States in January, 2019.
“One fool like this can get all Singaporeans suspected,” academic and former Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan said in a Facebook post in response to the spy’s case.