The Chinese diplomat who hastily returned to his country before being detained by the Japanese police for spying allegations was making money in Japan from the real estate business, according to sources close to the matter.
The 45-year-old diplomat who worked for the Chinese embassy in Tokyo earned about Y300,000 ($5,000) a month from renting apartments in a residential building he had bought in Chiba.
Li Chunguang, the diplomat whose official position was first secretary of the Chinese embassy, purchased last year a two-story apartment building in Hanamigawa Ward, Chiba, for which he paid around Y40 million. He worked with a local real estate agency for the transaction. According to the sources, the tenants are mainly Chinese.
Li Chunguang reportedly also bought a condominium in the city’s Chuo Ward for about Y12 million, through the same agency. He was renting the place to a Japanese woman.
Li is suspected of having violated Article 42 of the Vienna Convention, which forbids diplomats to engage in business activities “for personal profit” in the country they are working in.
According to sources quoted by the Japanese press, the diplomat was a member of an intelligence unit at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. He returned to China shortly after he was requested by the Japanese police to turn himself in, on suspicions of being a spy and conducting illegal commercial activities.