Hundreds of Chinese spies active in EU capital Brussels

250 Chinese and 200 Russians at work: Die Welt

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The European Union's Berlaymont building (right) in Brussels, Belgium (photo by Hlynz)

The European Union's Berlaymont building (right) in Brussels, Belgium (photo by Hlynz) (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Hundreds of Chinese and Russian spies are active in the Belgian capital of Brussels, due to its role as headquarters of both the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), German newspaper Die Welt reported Saturday.

An internal security department at the EU warned diplomats and military officers against visiting a steakhouse and a café within walking distance of the organization’s Berlaymont headquarters building because of the presence of spies, according to Die Welt.

The newspaper quoted sources as estimating that 250 Chinese and 200 Russian agents were at work in Europe’s capital. Most spies were based at the embassies and trade offices of their home country.

In addition to Chinese and Russians, intelligence operatives from the United States and Morocco were also well represented in Brussels, according to Die Welt.

The newspaper concludes with an incident at the Council of Europe in 2003, when remote-controlled spying gear was found in translation booths, allowing outsiders to listen in to conversations by the French, British, German and Spanish delegations. The U.S. and Israel were the main suspects, but no evidence was ever found, Die Welt noted.