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Man arrested for allegedly spying on US for China

ANI | Updated: Sep 26, 2018 05:57 IST

Chicago [USA], Sep 26 (ANI): A Chinese man living in Chicago has been arrested by the authorities for allegedly acting within the United States as an illegal agent of China.
According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the 27-year-old, identified as Ji Chaoqun, was allegedly trying to recruit a variety of Chinese nationals living in the US.
The arrest and complaint were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois, and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Chicago field office.
Chaoqun worked at the direction of a high-level intelligence officer in the Jiangsu Province Ministry of State Security, a provincial department of the Ministry of State Security for the People's Republic of China, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The 27-year-old was tasked with providing the intelligence officer with biographical information on eight individuals for possible recruitment by the JSSD, the complaint stated.
The individuals included Chinese nationals who were working as engineers and scientists in the US, some of whom were U.S. defense contractors, according to the complaint.
The complaint charges Chaoqun with one count of knowingly acting in the US as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General.
According to the complaint, Chaoqun was born in China and arrived in the US in 2013 on an F1 Visa for the purpose of studying electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. In 2016, he was enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves as an E4 Specialist under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, which authorises the U.S. Armed Forces to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered vital to the national interest.
In his application to participate in the MAVNI program, Chaoqun specifically denied having had contact with a foreign government within the past seven years, the complaint stated. In a subsequent interview with a U.S. Army officer, Chaoqun again failed to disclose his relationship and contacts with the intelligence officer, the charge alleged.
"A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. The statutory maximum penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge," said the Department of Justice. (ANI)