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Video shows Chinese 'spy' who defected to Australia in court

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Beijing (AFP)

A Chinese newspaper on Wednesday published a video aiming to discredit the self-styled Chinese spy who recently defected to Australia with an apparent mountain of sensitive intelligence.

The 2:34 minute video posted on the website of the semi-official Global Times tabloid, said to be taken in 2016, shows scenes from a trial for fraud in which the accused responds to the name Wang Liqiang.

Leading Australian news media on November 22 reported that a man named Wang "William" Liqiang had defected and given Australia's counter-espionage agency the identities of China's senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong, and provided details of how Beijing funds and conducts operations in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia.

China, however, accused the 26-year-old man of being an unemployed fraudster and fugitive.

Shanghai police said an investigation was launched in April after Wang was allegedly involved in automobile import fraud in February totalling 4.6 million yuan ($653,000).

He had been given a suspended 15-month prison sentence in 2016 in a separate fraud case, police added.

In the video posted on the Global Times website, a judge in a court hearing addresses the defendant as "Wang Liqiang."

The defendant answers the judge's questions, acknowledges the charges and then hears the verdict.

The newspaper, a known pro-government mouthpiece, claimed to have obtained the footage "exclusively" from the Guangze People's Court in Fujian province, where the case was reportedly heard.

AFP was unable to independently confirm the video's authenticity.

Wang is reportedly living in Sydney with his wife and infant son on a tourist visa.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman in Beijing on Wednesday slammed the "hysteria" surrounding the case.

"Certain Australian media and institutions have been creating and hyping up 'Chinese espionage' and 'Chinese infiltration' with all kinds of false exaggeration and bias," the spokesman said.

"They have reached a state of hysteria and extreme nervousness."

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