Chinese-owned hotel near Swiss air base raises security concerns

Andrew Bossi

Concerns have arisen in Switzerland after Chinese investment in properties near an air base. 

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Rössli Hotel, located very close to the Meiringen Air Base set to house F-35A fighter-bombers from 2028, was bought in 2018 for €1 million by the Wang family from China. 

In a previous investigation led by Radio Television Suisse, it was revealed that the son of the Wang family, a student from a hotel school in Leysin, acquired the hotel in his name. The business was managed by his parents.

The hotel is located right on the edge of the air base perimeter, with a direct view over the runways. This acquisition was made before Switzerland announced its intention to acquire the fifth-generation fighter jets in 2022.

The situation took a turn when the US raised concerns about the security of Swiss bases, including the Rössli Hotel near the Meiringen base. This led to the Swiss authorities taking action, and the Wang family eventually had to leave the hotel.

The Wang family was eventually convicted of illegal stay in Switzerland, operating a hotel restaurant without a license, and lack of a work permit. They returned to China, and the Rössli Hotel was put up for sale. Officially, no evidence of espionage was found.

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