Israel breathes easy after China 'spy mugs' panic debunked

Israel breathes easy after China 'spy mugs' panic debunked
Concerns were raised after reports claimed that China had bugged a set of gifts given to Israel's transport and science ministries.
1 min read
12 April, 2022
It had been suggested the mugs contained a bug [Mario Marco/Getty-file photo]

Israel breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after reports of possible "spy mugs" from China turned out to be a false alarm.

The mugs were presents from China's Tel Aviv embassy and had been provided to Israel's science and transport ministries, The Jerusalem Post reported.

It had been suggested the thermal mugs contained a bug, an allegation which China strongly denied.

Israel's Shabak intelligence service said its "technological experts who checked the component found that it is innocent and meant to maintain a vacuum in the sides of the mug and maintain the temperature over time".

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The mugs were presents celebrating the upcoming Jewish religious festival of Passover, according to a Chinese embassy statement reported by The Times of Israel.

The statement described claims of a possible "suspicious device" in the mugs as "baseless rumours".

These "aim to drive a wedge between China and Israel, tarnish China's image and seriously mislead the public", the embassy added.