By Benjamin Cost
Formerly thought to be breaking news, Russia’s arrest of a Chinese national charged for espionage actually occurred on October 28 of last year but the information was only released recently. The man in question, Tong Shengyong, allegedly tried to obtain documentation for Russian S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems on behalf of Beijing, all while posing as an interpreter for “official delegations.”
The truck-mounted S-300 missiles that Shengyong sought to purchase were Soviet models, capable of shooting down planes and missiles alike from distances of more than 144 kilometers and at altitudes of around 27,432 meters.
Shengyong’s illegal attempt to purchase weapon designs was part of an ongoing effort to beef up the Chinese military through buying and replicating Soviet-era Russian weapons technology. Beijing is currently a number one market for Russian arms and has been gobbling up Soviet-era armament for decades. In fact, Beijing’s first aircraft carrier unveiled in August is actually a refurbished Soviet ship (and you thought China only pirated DVDs and such).
For his role in espionage, Tong Shengyong will be tried at Moscow City Court and could be sentenced to 10-20 years in the gulag.
So why was news of this dangerous spy’s arrest only revealed now? In true Russian fashion, nobody is telling anything.