WASHINGTON — Federal authorities on Monday unsealed charges against a dozen people, including members of China’s security and intelligence agencies, for allegedly trying to influence the United States to benefit their own country.
Three cases were filed in New York and New Jersey, including:
- Seven Chinese nationals — two of whom were arrested Thursday in New York — are accused of participating in a scheme to extort a Chinese national living in the United States. The charges include engaging in surveillance and campaigning to harass and coerce a US resident under a campaign called “Operation Fox Hunt”.
- Two Chinese intelligence officials were charged Monday with trying to obstruct a criminal investigation in New York. The criminals are absconding. They were accused of trying to steal confidential information of a global telecommunications company.
- Four Chinese nationals, including three state Department of Defense intelligence officials, were indicted Monday in New Jersey, accused of engaging in a long-running intelligence campaign targeting American individuals to act as agents for China.
“As these cases demonstrate, China’s government has sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our judicial system that protects those rights. They have not succeeded,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. The judiciary will not tolerate it.”
An eight-count indictment in Brooklyn charged two people who live in Roslyn, New York — Quanzhong An, 55, and Guangyang An, 34 — and five people who live in China: Tian Peng, 38; Chenghua Chen; Sunde Ming; Xuexin Hou, 52; and Weidong Yuan, 55.
Guanzhong An and Guangyang An were arrested Thursday and arraigned Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes. The rest of the accused are absconding.
Quanzhong An, the majority owner of a hotel in Queens, allegedly engaged in a campaign to harass and coerce an American resident into returning to China, in part under the direction of China’s Provincial Regulatory Commission. An international extradition effort called “Operation Fox Hunt”.
“The United States will resolutely oppose such outrageous violations of national sovereignty and prosecute individuals who act as illegal agents of foreign states,” said Brion Pease, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
In the Brooklyn case, two defendants — Dong He, also known as Kuchun He or Jackie He, and Zheng Wang, also known as Zhen Wang — plotted to steal files and other information related to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A global telecommunications company based in China is to be prosecuted, according to an ongoing federal criminal investigation and criminal documents.
The defendants allegedly paid a $41,000 bitcoin bribe to a U.S. government employee who was a double agent working for the FBI rather than China, Garland said.
“The defendants believed they recruited a U.S. government employee as an asset,” Garland said. “But in reality, the person they recruited was actually a double agent, working on behalf of the FBI.”
The New Jersey case involves Wang Lin, 59; Bi Hongwei, age unknown; Dong Ding, also known as Chelsea Dong, 40; Wang Qiang, 55, and others engaged in a large-scale and systematic effort from 2008 to 2018 to target and recruit individuals to act on behalf of China in the United States.
The group has asked college professors, former law enforcement personnel and homeland security officials to provide information, equipment and assistance to the Chinese government to further China’s intelligence objectives. In exchange, the government says the defendants offered paid trips to China.
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