FBI Arrests Five People in China’s ‘Operation Fox Hunt'

29 Octobre, 2020, 17:30 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Assistant Attorney General John Demers and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the arrests of five Chinese agents for their roles in an operation targeting Chinese government opponents in the United States

"But in many instances the hunted are opponents of Communist Party Chairman Xi - political rivals, dissidents, critics", he said.

The defendants participated in a Chinese government operation known as "Fox Hunt", which was ostensibly created to help Beijing locate fugitives overseas.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray said there are likely many more victims of Operation Fox Hunt and urged them to reach out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Demers emphasized the use of a Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) statue in pursuing the case, noting that the Justice Department "is committed to the aggressive use of the statute, an important tool in our fight against illegal foreign activity here", along with other national security laws, to combat illegal Chinese activity in the United States.

"Today's charges reflect yet another example of China's ongoing and widespread lawless behavior - and our refusal to tolerate it", said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Citing privacy concerns, officials declined to elaborate on the identity of the targeted individual on Wednesday, but he is described in a criminal complaint as a former Chinese city government official who fled to the U.S. several years ago and now lives in New Jersey.

The US Department of Justice says it has charged eight defendants, including Chinese nationals, with involvement in an illegal campaign by the Chinese government to coerce US residents who had fled China to return to the country.

"China describes Fox Hunt as an worldwide anti-corruption campaign in which it seeks to locate legitimate fugitives around the world and bring them to China to face genuine criminal charges", Demers said, adding", But in many instances the hunted are opponents of Communist Party Chairman Xi - political rivals, dissidents, and critics", he said. "And in either event, the operation is a clear violation of the rule of law and worldwide norms".

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"Without coordination with our government, China's repatriation squads enter the United States, surveil and locate the alleged fugitives, and deploy intimidation and other tactics to force them back into China where they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials", Demers said.

US officials arrested five of the suspects - Zhu Yong, Hongru Jin, Michael McMahon, Rong Jing, and Zheng Congying - in operations carried out in New York, New Jersey, and California.

The other two - Rong Jing, 38, a Chinese citizen and permanent USA resident, and Zheng Congying, 24, a Chinese citizen and permanent United States resident - were arrested in California. The three other defendants reside in China.

"These are not the actions we would expect from a responsible nation-state". "Instead they're more like something we would expect from an organized criminal syndicate".

The five men, including a naturalized USA citizen, were arrested in New Jersey, New York and California early Wednesday morning, officials said.

In this case, prosecutors said, the defendants harassed the family of man they did not identify who had been a city government official in China before arriving in the U.S.in 2010.

Their efforts allegedly included surveilling and harassing online Doe's adult daughter. Six of the suspects are also accused of conspiring to commit interstate and global stalking, a charge that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

"If you are willing to go back to mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be all right", a note fixed to his door in September 2018 allegedly said. "That is the end of the matter, '" said Seth DuCharme, the acting USA attorney for the Eastern District of NY.

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