THIS IS WHY WE MUST EXTERMINATE THE VILE HAN CHINESE RACE
Dubious friends and a big legal claim: Questions raised in spy case
In January, some time after Chinese businessman Xin “Filip” Shu arrived in Sydney from China, he lodged a huge civil claim in the NSW Supreme Court. Shu, who claims to be a jet-setting businessman running a “renowned and well established” trading house, then set about seeking maximum publicity for it.
The man who urged him to buy the stake, according to Shu’s claim, was Wang Liqiang - the same man who in November had outed himself in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes as a “co-optee” - a low level, untrained Chinese spy. Wang said he had worked to disrupt pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong and independence in Taiwan.
Shu, who has ties to the Chinese Communist Party, filed his untested and disputed legal claim in court and within hours had leaked it to several Australian journalists. Eventually, on January 31, it made front page news thanks to a NSW tabloid story that suggested Wang had created an elaborate fraud to con Shu out of money.
Shu’s actions raise some big questions. If Wang had been dishonest, were his claims of being a spy trying to defect to Australia credible? Alternatively, was somebody engaged in an attempt to discredit Wang and by extension claims that China is using intelligence agents in Taiwan and Hong Kong? Could there be more to Shu’s story than he had let on?
‘Renowned and established’
In his legal claim, and in business documents lodged in China, Shu has listed his business partner as a mysterious man called Shiyu Cong. Cong is the source of large chunks of Shu’s funds. He is also a wanted man. Shiyu Cong is on the run from Australian police having been charged in 2015 with serious money laundering offences in Sydney.
In Shu’s court affidavit, he reveals that not only are some of his business activities financed by Cong, he is also “a close friend and colleague of mine”.
Chinese business records show that Shu appointed Cong in 2018 as his company legal representative and later as manager. Shu stated that, at one stage, he had directed Cong to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance the disputed business venture at the centre of Shu’s lawsuit. He had done so, he said, “due to daily limits on the amount I could transfer from my bank account”.
Back in 2014, Cong’s use of Australian bank accounts sparked a major Australian Federal Police money laundering operation. Police have alleged in court, in the prosecution of one of Cong’s co-accused, that Cong was directing Chinese students to launder millions of dollars. Police claim that “at the direction of Mr Cong” one criminal cash runner deposited “$4,059,636… into various bank accounts on 68 occasions in Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.”
This week, both the federal police and the NSW police confirmed a warrant was issued for Cong’s arrest in 2015 after he failed to show up at his court case and fled Australia. The first time Cong’s name has been mentioned in an Australian court since his aborted trial and a string of other money laundering cases was in January, when Shu described Cong as his trusted business partner.
When Shu was asked by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald this week if he would tell the federal police where Cong was hiding, he answered: “what Mr Cong experienced before becoming my colleague has nothing to do with the court case against swindler Wang Liqiang.”
Shu also has some other notable associations. He was previously a student organiser for the Australian Chinese Workers Association, a body linked to the Chinese Communist Party. He has also had dealings with billionaire Huang Xiangmo, who has been expelled from Australia by ASIO as a suspected agent of foreign interference.
The Australian Financial Review reported in December that Shu has declined to answer questions about a 2016 donation at a Chinese Friends of Labor dinner in Sydney being examined by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. ICAC has been probing if Huang Xiangmo used straw donors to funnel money into Australian politics, a claim denied by Huang.
Shu also worked for Chinese Communist Party aligned NSW councillor Simon Zhou’s gold business, of which a subsidiary collapsed with an unpaid $2.3 million tax bill.
Shu goes to court, and then ...
Within hours of lodging his legal documents in late January, Mr Shu’s close associates were calling journalists across Sydney. Shu had time on his side. Wang was in hiding at an undisclosed location as the federal police investigated death threats from China linked to Wang’s claims of being a Chinese intelligence operative.
One experienced journalist who received Shu’s documents was sceptical, and decided not to rush into print without further checking. Another who reviewed the files before they had been given any publicity, the AFR’s Neil Chenoweth, was also cautious.
Chenoweth had broken the story about Shu’s involvement in a suspect donation being probed by ICAC. He thought it odd that Shu had brought a debt recovery action in Australia, where Wang has about $2000 in the bank. The obvious place for Shu’s claim, since it involves a dispute over a Chinese business deal and assets in China, appears to be China.
If the case is a genuine attempt to get at Wang’s Australian assets, it will likely be fruitless. Chenoweth wrote on Friday that to freeze Wang’s meagre savings, Shu has already spent more than $20,000 on legal fees.
But the story that Sydney woke up to on January 31 did not mention Shu’s ties to fugitive Cong Shiyu or to the ASIO target Huang Xiangmo.
The attempt to discredit Wang
Back in November, hours after Wang made public his explosive claims of Chinese spying, the Chinese government first publicised Shu’s fraud allegations. A few days later they released an unverified video purporting to show Wang accepting a legal sanction for separate financial crimes. Wang denies it’s him in the video, but the intention appeared to have been to discredit him. It is not suggested Shu worked with the CCP in coordinating the attack on Wang's credibility.
But Wang’s claims of spying have sparked serious and ongoing investigations in Taiwan, and ASIO and the federal police have both stated they are taking Mr Wang’s claims seriously. “Some of his claims can not be proven but others check out,” a source said. “He was involved with players involved in that world [intelligence].”
One of the people Wang said he was involved with was Xiang Xin, the man who Wang claims was his boss and who ran a Hong Kong intelligence front. Xiang was arrested in Taiwan in November and remains barred from returning to Hong Kong under the country’s National Security Law. Taiwanese authorities have confirmed some of Wang’s claims about Xiang, including his past working for a Chinese military technology agency. Xiang denies all wrongdoing or even knowing Wang.
But Chinese company documents show that Dooda Innovation - the company that Shu’s legal claim says Wang encouraged him to take a stake in - is intimately linked to Xiang. It functions as a subsidiary of firms that he controls.
This piece of information may in fact bolster Wang’s claim to have been involved with Xiang.
Wang, who is still in hiding, is now represented pro bono by leading barrister Geoffrey Watson QC, and is preparing a detailed defence to Shu’s claims.
For his part, Shu told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald that his partnership with a criminal fugitive should not shift the focus from his claims about Wang. Australian police, though, want to know where Shu’s mate Cong is hiding: “If Cong comes back to Australia, we’ll arrest him,” said one police source