Chinese crypto techie sentenced to death for leaking state secrets

31 others caught up in spying row

A computer technician at a Chinese state encryption lab has been sentenced to death for selling government secrets to foreign intelligence agencies.

For nine years Huang Yu, 48, sold 150,000 state documents for "a foreign spy organization" and earned over $700,000, Shanghai Daily reports. These included ciphers for the Communist Party, government, military and financial communications.

"He had offered a great deal of classified information in 10 years, which caused serious threats to our core government and military departments," the state safety bureau of Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, said in a statement.

According to state media, Yu contacted the unnamed foreign intelligence agency offering documents for sale after becoming unsatisfied with his job. His contact offered $10,000 for the first tranche of files and a monthly salary of $5,000 to get more, and also trained Yu in espionage techniques.

For a while all went well, but then Yu was fired from his job for poor performance. In order to keep the documents – and paychecks – coming, Yu reportedly pressured his wife – who also worked at the center – for more information. He also stole state documents from his brother-in-law's computer while repairing it.

However, Yu's wealth and his frequent visits to Hong Kong and other Asian countries, caught the eye of the authorities. After an investigation he was arrested and charged in 2011, but this is the first time the news has been made public.

While Yu now faces the death penalty, his wife was sentenced to five years in prison, and his brother-in-law to three years, for “negligence,” and 29 of his former colleagues have also been punished. ®

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