Mr Chen is the chief executive of Prospect Time International Investment, which promotes China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.
IS this an alternate approach to get the One Belt and One Road Initiative off the ground in Australia … ?
WHAT is the government doing to protect Australia and its People from this totalitarian regime?
WHY hasn’t Chen’s entry to Australia been blocked?
MEANWHILE the CCP can fly in and buy what they like!
HOW can we have a mutually beneficial trade relationship with China with the CCP malign presence in the World?
ISN’t it HIGH TIME to seek World-wide trade export markets … ?
Man suspected of bid to install spy in Parliament has business linked to Chinese military
By Paul Sakkal and Nick McKenzie
Updated November 28, 2019
*The man suspected of trying to plant a Chinese operative in the Australian Parliament is involved in business with one of the Chinese military’s main weapons and vehicles manufacturers, and wanted to expand his business into Australia.
The special vehicle company run by sometime Australian resident Brian Chen produces bullet-proof transport trucks, public security guard cars and other special vehicles.
*One of his businesses is in partnership with another company that is an affiliate of Norinco, the $45 billion military outfit that produces a large proportion of China’s military products, ranging from weapons to tanks.
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have confirmed from multiple Western security sources that Mr Chen is a suspected senior Chinese intelligence operative, a claim Mr Chen confirmed was put to him by Australian officials at Melbourne Airport in March, but which he vehemently denies.
The Australian Federal Police and other agencies are deeply interested in Mr Chen’s activities in Australia and abroad, well-placed sources said.
The sources, speaking on condition of confidentiality, said the investigation had moved on from the claims made by Melbourne man Bo “Nick” Zhao that Mr Chen had offered him $1 million to run for the Australian Parliament. Authorities were now assessing Mr Chen’s business activities in Melbourne and across Asia and Europe.
Mr Chen, an occasional Melbourne resident, denied knowing Mr Zhao and also denied any association with the Chinese military. However, he admitted to owning a company that manufactured special vehicles.
Mr Chen said he was in the process of buying a factory in Melbourne’s northern suburbs to begin producing vehicles before he left Australia in March.
Melbourne car dealer Nick Zhao was found dead in a Melbourne hotel, before his death he claimed a Chinese spy ring approached him and offered him money to run for parliament.
“I wanted to start a factory to build modified cars here, because that’s what I’ve always been doing. But the negotiation of venue and factory hasn’t been settled,” Chen said.
“The factory that we were looking at was near the airport, the industrial area, but it was too expensive, so we didn’t make the final decision.”
*Mr Chen said the Australian officials questioned him about why his company’s website featured photographs of military vehicles, which prompted him to remove the photographs.
*Mr Chen is the chief executive of Prospect Time International Investment, which promotes China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.*
*Prospect Time’s subsidiary, Special Vehicles and Equipment Company, is a 50 per cent shareholder in a company whose name can be roughly translated as Beijing Northern Li Mao Long Defence and Security Technology Company. That company produces bullet-proof transport trucks, public security guard cars and other special vehicles that are certified by China’s Ministry of Public Security – the main security arm of the Chinese Communist Party. *
*The other half of that company is owned by Beijing North Vehicle Group Corporation (Norveco), an affiliate of Norinco, China’s major state-owned defence corporation.
Norinco is one of the largest defence corporations in the world, and was one of 10 companies that participated in China’s military parade in October.
Norveco’s civil vehicles were involved in landmark events such as the Beijing Olympics torch relay and Chinese national day events.
Some of Norinco’s major international buyers include the governments of Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Venezuela.
Mr Chen’s company Prospect Time has also struck questionable deals with various governments and companies around the world.
In June 2017 Mr Chen’s company said it was “pleased to lead a team of experts to Portugal for a $2.9 billion project to be completed in the next four to five years”. But by 2018 the Portugal project had fallen over, with Portugal’s authorities refusing to answer questions about the deal. The announcement of the project was removed from Prospect Time’s website.
In the past two years Prospect Time has announced a $3.3 billion infrastructure plan in the Philippines, a $220 million hotel complex in the Pacific island of Palau, an oil project in Maldives and an undisclosed project in Thailand, where the company said Mr Chen met former Thailand prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. There has been no evidence of any of the projects commencing.
Many of the countries where deals were announced have been targeted by the Chinese government in its aggressive push to build its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Chen said Prospect Time, which was registered in 2004, had “existed for a long time but the business hasn’t started”.
“Now, we are still finding different projects to do,” he said.
On Tuesday The Age and Herald revealed that Mr Chen made a multimillion-dollar offer to take over a Melbourne biotech company, in order to gain office space in Melbourne’s CSIRO building.
Mr Zhao reported the approach to ASIO. In March he was found dead in a motel room in suburban Melbourne. There is no suggestion that the two events are related.
Paul is a reporter for The Age.
Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter for The Age. He’s won seven Walkley awards and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.