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Chinese spy cameras discovered at Sandringham estate and at least FIVE Government departments


By Abul Taher And Cameron Charters For The Mail On Sunday 23:48 04 Mar 2023, updated 23:53 04 Mar 2023


  1.  CCTV made by Hikvision, a firm controlled by the Chinese Communist Party

  2.  Cameras have been discovered at various locations around Sandringham

  3.  Discovery follows revelation British Army bases are still using Chinese cameras 



Chinese surveillance cameras are being used at one of the King’s main residences and at least five Government departments – months after Ministers ordered their removal from sensitive sites on national security grounds.

The Mail on Sunday has established that CCTV cameras made by Hikvision – a company controlled by the Chinese Communist Party – are being used at various locations on the vast Sandringham estate – Charles’s country seat.

Our investigation also found the cameras, which come with facial recognition technology, trained on the entrances of Whitehall ministries, including the Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Energy Security and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.


Hikvision cameras are also situated at the building of UK Government Investments – an arm of the Treasury – which manages state-backed companies such as NatWest, Channel 4 and HM Land Registry.

CCTV cameras by Hikvision – which in the past has worked closely with China’s People’s Liberation Army – have been banned by the US Government from all federal agencies.

Chinese surveillance cameras are being used at this new play area at Sandringham, one of the King¿s main residences, despite Ministers ordering their removal from sensitive sites on national security grounds


Hikvision denies handing any footage to the Chinese government and says it complies with UK legislation, but the firm is subject to China’s National Intelligence Law, which can order companies to hand over data to its intelligence service


The Hikvision CCTV cameras were seen at the Department for Energy Security in London


Hikvision cameras are also situated at the building of UK Government Investments ¿ an arm of the Treasury ¿ which manages state-backed companies such as NatWest, Channel 4 and HM Land Registry


Hikvision denies handing any footage to the Chinese government and says it complies with UK legislation. 

But the firm is subject to China’s National Intelligence Law, which can order companies to hand over data to its intelligence service.

In November, Oliver Dowden, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, ordered all Ministries to remove Hikvision cameras as well as those from any other Chinese firm that could send data to Beijing. 

Security experts say buildings in Whitehall are particularly sensitive, as Ministers often receive guests with whom they have conversations on security.

In April last year, the then Health Secretary Sajid Javid banned the use of Hikvision cameras in the Ministry after one of them caught his predecessor, Matt Hancock, kissing his girlfriend Gina Coladangelo there. 

In June, the Department told Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith that it had removed all Hikvision cameras.

Last night, an angry Mr Duncan Smith accused the Health Ministry of lying to him. He said: ‘I will be writing to the Secretary of State for Health [Steve Barclay] for an explanation on this. 

‘It’s one thing not to tell anything, but it is another thing to lie about it and say you have removed the cameras.’

Hikvision camera on Army Reserve Centre, Iverna Gardens, Kensington, London


At Sandringham, our reporter found five Hikvision cameras. Three were by car parks, while two were on trees by a play area.

Palace officials refused to say if Hikvision cameras were also installed in the restricted areas of Sandringham.

At the Whitehall departments, our reporters found Hikvision cameras with 360-degree views in front of the main entrances.

Luke De Pulford, of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said: ‘Turning a blind eye to the security risks posed by these cameras, after promising to remove them, is the height of negligence.’

Jake Hurfurt, from Big Brother Watch, said: ‘Chinese state-owned CCTV has no place in the UK. These cameras should not be watching over any British streets, let along the heart of our Government.’

After we approached the departments involved for comment, a Cabinet Office source said the Government is complying with Mr Dowden’s order and has started to remove Hikvision cameras from sensitive sites. 

He did not specify what those places were.

A spokesman said: ‘We take the security of our personnel, systems and establishments very seriously.’

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said last night: ‘We do not comment on security.’

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