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Unsafe Sex
by James Dunnigan
February 11, 2013

China recently revealed that police had arrested several people for using sexual blackmail to force corrupt Chinese officials to back off. In some cases the officials called their bluff and that resulted in videos appearing on the Internet, revealing quite graphically the extramarital escapades of corrupt officials. The Chinese police do not approve of this sort of vigilante action against corruption. The police are frequently on the payroll of corrupt politicians, which gives them another unofficial reason to go after those who use this sort of “honey trap” to fight corruption.

The honey trap is widely used in East Asia as a way to recruit spies in other countries. For example, if a military officer or government official is found to be involved with a foreign woman intel officials are alarmed. For example, a Taiwanese Air Force pilot was suspended from flying and put under investigation when he was found to be dating a Chinese woman who was a journalist. Taiwan considers (with some accuracy) reporters for Chinese state controlled media as agents for Chinese intelligence agencies.

China continues to use "honey trap" (sex scandal) operations with great success. For example, four years ago four Taiwanese government officials were lured to a Chinese red light district and covertly captured on video doing something they could be blackmailed (into spying for China) for. This is a classic use of the honey trap.

The Chinese, and the Russians, have been doing this sort of thing for years. It sometimes backfires. This happened seven years ago when a blackmail demand was made to the head of the encrypted communications section of the Japan's Shanghai consulate. The man was being pressured by Chinese agents to hand over sensitive intelligence or be exposed for sexual activities the Chinese lured him into (a "honey trap"). The Japanese diplomat committed suicide instead, while also alerting his superiors. Having the victim kill himself, instead of cooperating, is always a risk when running a honey trap.

The Taiwanese use their considerable honey trap experience as a reason to warn all Taiwanese officials who travel to China to be careful. Sometimes the Chinese attempt to use the honey trap in foreign countries but this is more dangerous. If the local police find out the Chinese can lose some valuable agents and get some of their diplomats expelled as well. But overall, the Chinese have been quite successful with honey traps and continue to use them. So do the Russians and many other countries.

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