Man who spied for China detained for being threat to Singapore
Dickson Yeo acted as paid agent of a foreign state: Internal Security Department
A Singaporean man who had worked for China's intelligence services since 2015 has been detained for two years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for being a threat to Singapore.
Dickson Yeo, 40, had acted as a paid agent of a foreign state, said the Internal Security Department (ISD) yesterday.
He was arrested by the ISD on Dec 30 last year, after he was deported to Singapore from the United States upon completion of a 14-month jail term for spying for China in the US. Yeo was issued an order of detention under the ISA on Jan 29.
"ISD's investigations established that Yeo had worked for the intelligence apparatus of a foreign state and had carried out various taskings given to him by his foreign handlers in exchange for monetary gains," said the department.
"Yeo admitted to being fully aware that his foreign handlers were working for the intelligence apparatus of the foreign state."
ISD said Yeo was tasked with sourcing information and providing reports to his foreign handlers, including information relating to Singapore.
He had approached individuals in Singapore to try and obtain information for the purpose of writing his reports.
Yeo had set up a front company in Singapore as a cover for his information gathering activities, as well as recruitment for his foreign handlers.
"He had also tried, but failed, to secure employment in the Singapore government sector to further his information gathering activities. Yeo had carried out these activities over a period from 2016 until his arrest in the US in 2019," said ISD.
It added that Yeo's continued detention is necessary to allow the ISD to find out the full extent of his activities.
During a trip to Beijing in 2015, Yeo was recruited by Chinese agents who claimed to represent think-tanks. He was studying for a doctorate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore at that time.
US court documents show he admitted to being offered money in exchange for political reports and information, initially on South-east Asia, before focusing on the US.
News of his arrest and guilty plea was announced in the US last July and he was sentenced in October. He maintained that he was supportive of the Chinese cause and claimed he did not betray Singapore.
When announcing his arrest upon returning to Singapore, ISD said Yeo had revealed to US investigators that his previous intelligence tasks targeted other states, apart from the US.
"The Singapore Government takes a very serious view of anyone who enters into a clandestine relationship with a foreign government and engages in activities at the behest of the foreign power that is inimical to our national security and interests, including bilateral relations," said the ISD yesterday.
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