WASHINGTON — Federal authorities on Monday unveiled charges against a dozen people, including members of China’s security and intelligence apparatus, for allegedly trying to exert influence in 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 in New York on Thursday – have been charged with participating in a scheme to force the repatriation of a Chinese national living in the United States. The charges include surveillance and participating in a campaign to harass and coerce the US resident in a campaign known as “Operation Fox Hunt”.
- Two Chinese intelligence officers were charged on Monday with attempting to obstruct a criminal prosecution in New York. The defendants remain free. They were accused of attempting to steal confidential information from a global telecommunications company.
- Four Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officers from the Department of State Security, were charged Monday in New Jersey with allegedly participating in a long-running intelligence campaign targeting American individuals to act as agents of China. .
“As these cases demonstrate, the Chinese government has sought to interfere with the rights and freedoms of individuals in the United States and to undermine our legal system that protects those rights. They weren’t successful,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate any attempt by any foreign power to undermine the rule of law upon which our democracy is based.”
An eight-count indictment in Brooklyn charged two residents of Roslyn, New York — Quanzhong An, 55, and Guangyang An, 34 — and five residents of China: Tian Peng, 38; Chenghua Chen; Chunde Ming; Xuexin Hou, 52 years old; and Weidong Yuan, 55.
Quanzhong An and Guangyang An were arrested on Thursday and arraigned on Monday before US Investigating Judge Ramon Reyes. The other defendants are still at large.
The main defendant, Quanzhong An, a majority owner of a hotel in Queens, allegedly acted under the direction of the Chinese Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection to monitor and engage in a campaign to harass and coerce a resident American to return to China as part of an international repatriation effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt”.
“The United States will stand firmly against these outrageous violations of national sovereignty and will prosecute individuals who act as unlawful agents of foreign states,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York.
In the Brooklyn case, two defendants – Dong He, also known as Guochun He or Jacky He, and Zheng Wang, also known as Zen Wang – allegedly orchestrated a scheme to steal files and other information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. to the ongoing federal criminal investigation and prosecution of a China-based global telecommunications company, according to charging documents.
The defendants allegedly paid a $41,000 bitcoin bribe to a US government employee, who was a double agent working for the FBI rather than China, Garland said.
“Defendants believed they recruited the US government employee as an asset,” Garland said. “But in fact, the individual they recruited was actually a double agent, working for the FBI.”
The New Jersey case charged Wang Lin, 59; Bi Hongwei, age unknown; Dong Ting, also known as Chelsea Dong, 40; Wang Qiang, 55, and others who engaged in a widespread and systematic effort to target and recruit individuals to act on behalf of China in the United States from 2008 to 2018.
The group asked university professors, former law enforcement officers and homeland security officials for information, equipment and assistance from the Chinese government in ways that would further the intelligence objectives of China, according to the government. In exchange, the defendants would have offered paid trips to China, according to the government.