Amleto Vespa

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Amleto Vespa (1888-c.1940) was a mercenary and secret agent of Italian origin, working in Manchuria between 1922 and 1940, first for a local warlord, and then for the Empire of Japan. A self-proclaimed fascist and admirer of Benito Mussolini, Vespa had no admiration for the Japanese administration of Manchukuo, which he described with considerable venom in a book published in 1938.


Vespa was born in the town of l'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy into a poor farming family. Little is known of his early life, aside from what he subsequently wrote in his autobiography, in which he claims to have left the Italian countryside to fight in the Mexican Revolution against Emiliano Zapata, been involved in various political intrigues in Eastern Europe and to have married a Polish Countess. He also claimed to have traveled extensively in the United States, Australia, French Indochina and in Mongolia. He had two children, Italo a boy and Ginevra, a girl.After his disappearance they moved to the United States, but their whereabouts is unknown.

Vespa reached China in 1920, and worked for Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin for a number of years. The Italian consulate in Tianjin had arrest and deportation orders issued for Vespa, who was accused of smuggling weapons and dealing in drugs on behalf of Zhang. To avoid arrest and deportation, he managed to obtain Chinese citizenship in 1924.

After the Manchurian Incident of 1931, Vespa fled Harbin just ahead of the Kempeitai secret police. His...
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