China media releases court footage showing alleged spy confessing to fraud

Chinese state media has released trial footage it says proves a Chinese defector seeking asylum in Australia is a convicted criminal with a history of fraud.

SHANGHAI, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Chinese state media has released trial footage it says proves a Chinese defector seeking asylum in Australia is a convicted criminal with a history of fraud.

Australian media reports said the defector, named Wang Liqiang, has provided Australian intelligence with details about Chinese political interference in Hong Kong and Australia, and Beijing's plans to disrupt presidential elections in the self-ruled island of Taiwan next year.

Chinese police, however, claimed Wang was an unemployed man from the southeastern province of Fujian who had been found guilty of fraud in 2016. He was also carrying a forged passport and Hong Kong resident document, they said.

The Global Times, a tabloid run by the ruling Communist Party, released the footage on its Weibo account late on Wednesday and said Wang had become "a new tool for the West to smear China".

The footage, said to be from October 2016, shows a man identified as Wang Liqiang confessing to fraud and asking the court for leniency, saying he had "weak legal awareness".

The Global Times said on Thursday Wang had continued his "fraudulent activities" overseas, "making up a series of fake stories that throw shade at China backed by Western media speculation".

"All the evidence points toward the fact that Wang is merely a fraudster spouting nonsense and mixing up black and white," it said.

(Reporting by David Stanway. Editing by Lincoln Feast)

((david.stanway@thomsonreuters.com; +86 21 2083 0066; Reuters Messaging: david.stanway.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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