Dickson Yeo Was Jailed In The US For Spying For China, Also Admitted To Targeting Other Nations

In a storyline straight out a spy novel, a Singaporean man named Dickson Yeo earlier this year admitted to spying for China to leak confidential United States (US) military info and secrets.

He was sentenced to 14 months’ jail in the US, after expressing a wish during trial to go home to his family.

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Now, he’s back in Singapore, but it seems he’ll have to wait a bit longer to see his family.

That’s because he’s been arrested by Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD).

They’ll question him to determine whether he’s done anything that threatened Singapore’s security.

Dickson Yeo returned to Singapore on 30 Dec

In a press release on Wednesday (30 Dec), Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said Mr Yeo returned to Singapore on the same day.

He was immediately arrested by the ISD, the ministry said.

MHA also noted that he had admitted in a US federal court to have worked for the Chinese intelligence for monetary rewards

Dickson Yeo passed on info to Chinese intelligence

The MHA was referring to Mr Yeo having posed as a recruiter to screen resume submissions from US citizens working for the military or government.

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From that, he gained valuable non-public information and passed them on to China’s intelligence officials, according to a press release from the US Department of Justice.

Setting up a fake political consultancy, he paid US citizens to write reports that were sent to the Chinese government without their knowledge.

The Singaporean was arrested in Nov 2019 when he was flying to the US.

Dickson Yeo claimed he didn’t betray Singapore

The US has said that when Mr Yeo started working with Chinese intelligence officers in 2015, he initially targeted other Asian countries.

MHA also noted that he had told US investigators that he had previously targeted other states besides the US.

However, during trial, his lawyer claimed that he never betrayed Singapore, reported The Straits Times.

The ISD will now question him to determine whether this is true.

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They will try to establish whether Mr Yeo had “engaged in activities prejudicial to Singapore’s security”, the MHA said.

Singapore Government to deal firmly with Dickson Yeo

The MHA said the Government takes “a very serious view” of any Singaporean who has a “clandestine relationship with a foreign government” to engage in spying on their instructions.

Such Singaporeans will be dealt with firmly, the ministry added, saying,

Singapore will not allow our nationals to be subverted or used by any foreign actors for activities prejudicial to our security and national interests.

However, they won’t be able to give any further information as investigations are still ongoing.

Dickson Yeo reportedly recruited while in NUS

Mr Yeo was reportedly recruited by Chinese Intelligence when he was a PhD student at the National University of Singapore (NUS). His PhD candidature was subsequently terminated.

His PhD adviser at the time, Professor Huang Jing, has denied recruiting him.

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Prof Huang himself was expelled from Singapore for trying to advance the agenda of a foreign country in Singapore.

Hopefully Singapore’s security hasn’t been compromised

Despite his transgressions, we hope Mr Yeo can see his family soon, especially during these difficult times.

However, if he has compromised Singapore’s security, he should also be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Hopefully, he’s true to his word, and hasn’t betrayed Singapore.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook and MHA.