A complaint and arrest warrants were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging eight defendants with conspiring to act in the United States as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Six defendants also face related charges of conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking. The defendants, allegedly acting at the direction and under the control of PRC government officials, conducted surveillance of and engaged in a campaign to harass, stalk, and coerce certain residents of the United States to return to the PRC as part of a global, concerted, and extralegal repatriation effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”
Zhu Yong, Hongru Jin, and Michael McMahon were arrested today and will be arraigned this afternoon via teleconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo. Rong Jing and Zheng Congying were arrested in the Central District of California, and their initial appearances will take place in that district later today. Zhu Feng, Hu Ji, and Li Minjun remain at large.
“With today’s charges, we have turned the PRC’s Operation Fox Hunt on its head — the hunters became the hunted, the pursuers the pursued,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “The five defendants the FBI arrested this morning on these charges of illegally doing the bidding of the Chinese government here in the United States now face the prospect of prison. For those charged in China and others engaged in this type of conduct, our message is clear: stay out. This behavior is not welcome here.”
“The Chinese government’s brazen attempts to surveil, threaten, and harass our own citizens and lawful permanent residents, while on American soil, are part of China’s diverse campaign of theft and malign influence in our country and around the world,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI will use all of its tools to investigate and defeat these outrageous actions by the Chinese government, which are an affront to America’s ideals of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”
“As alleged, the defendants assisted PRC officials in a scheme to coerce targeted individuals to return to the PRC against their will,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme. “The United States will not tolerate the conduct of PRC carrying out state-authorized actions on U.S. soil without notice to, and coordination with, the appropriate U.S. authorities. Nor will we tolerate the unlawful harassment and stalking of U.S. residents to further PRC objectives.” Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme also extended his thanks and appreciation to the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office for their work on the case.