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UK officials warned against falling prey to G-20 'honey pots': Report

People clap as British Home Secretary Theresa May makes a statement after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest earlier today to become Conservative Party leader outside the Houses of Parliament on July 11, 2016 in London, England.
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People clap as British Home Secretary Theresa May makes a statement after Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest earlier today to become Conservative Party leader outside the Houses of Parliament on July 11, 2016 in London, England.

Officials traveling with U.K. prime minister Theresa May have been warned to take precautions against spies that may attempt to seduce them at the meeting of the 20 largest industrialized economies (G-20) that begins Sunday, The Independent reported on Saturday.

So-called "honey pots" —an espionage term for someone who seduces an official for confidential information—have taken advantage of British diplomats on at least one occasion in the past. In 2008, an official traveling with then prime minister Gordon Brown was targeted by a Chinese spy who swiped his mobile phone as well as documents, the British publication reported.

As a result, U.K. officials are asking May's G-20 traveling party to take precautions, such as mobile devices, free memory sticks and other giveaways from their Chinese hosts. A source told the Independent that the hotel may be bugged, and Beijing may try to intercept emails and other communications.

The report may add a layer of tension to a meeting that has already gotten off to an awkward start. President Barack Obama's official entourage landed in Hangzhou on Saturday, and immediately ran afoul of Chinese authorities.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice got into a spirited confrontation with a Chinese representative at the airport, while another aide was chastised by the same representative over directions the aide was giving to reporters.

The full report can be found on The Independent's website.

Reuters contributed to this article.