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Professor demands Bilahari Kausikan prove or retract accusations of spy recruitment of Dickson Yeo

Retired Singapore diplomat responds: "What else would he say? I cannot take this sort of comment seriously."

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Singapore — Chinese-American academic Huang Jing has denied accusations from retired diplomat Bilahari Kausikan that he recruited Singaporean Dickson Yeo to spy for China.

Professor Huang, who now teaches at Beijing Language and Culture University’s Institute of National and Regional Studies, has said of Mr Kausikan: “He should either provide evidence or retract his comments. He owes me an explanation,” reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Monday (July 27).

Yeo, 39, pleaded guilty in Washington on Friday (July 24) to being an “illegal agent of a foreign power” in the United States. He will be sentenced on Oct 9 and could be jailed for as long as 10 years.

Mr Kausikan wrote about Yeo in a Facebook post on Saturday (July 25): “This guy used to be a PhD student at the LKYSPP where Huang Jing who was expelled and banned from SG in 2017 for being a Chinese agent of influence also worked. It is not unreasonable to assume he was recruited or at least talent spotted by the MSS there. (MSS is China’s Ministry of State Security).

“Afternote: Huang Jing was his PhD supervisor.”

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A spokesperson for the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) announced on Sunday (July 26) that Yeo’s PhD candidature had been terminated with immediate effect.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Yeo enrolled as a PhD student five years ago but took leave of absence last year. At LKYSPP, he did research and wrote about how China treated small states. His thesis, approved in 2017, is entitled “How Does China Treat Small States Of Strategic Value?”

Speaking to SCMP’s This Week in Asia, Prof Huang said: “Singapore is a country known for its rule of law, what proof does he have? I knew Bilahari when I was in Singapore and have no grudges against him. His comments against me are nonsense and unreasonable.

“(Bilahari) said ‘it is not unreasonable to assume’ that I had introduced Yeo to Chinese intelligence. What does he mean by that? How can a diplomat say that?”

On Facebook early Tuesday morning (July 28), Mr Kausikan posted a story from mothership.sg about Prof Huang’s demand that he either prove or retract his comments, captioning it: “What else would he say? I cannot take this sort of comment seriously.” /TISG

Read related: Guilty of spying for China: Singaporean faces jail of up to 10 years in US

Guilty of spying for China: Singaporean faces jail of up to 10 years in US

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