A group of nine people have been indicted on charges of operating as illegal agents of China in the United States. According to a Justice Department press release, the individuals allegedly “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.”
Those charged vary in gender and age, ranging from 24 to 65. They also lived in various cities including Queens, Brooklyn, Norwich, Connecticut and Mahwah, New Jersey. The press release states the suspects are accused of acting “at the direction and under the control of’ Chinese officials to try to force the return to China of two individuals identified only as John Doe #1 And wife Jane Doe #1.”
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York said in a statement, “Unregistered, roving agents of a foreign power are not permitted to engage in secret surveillance of U.S. residents on American soil, and their illegal conduct will be met with the full force of U.S. law.”
Voice of America News reports:
The statement said that around 2012 and 2014 the Chinese government had caused the international police organization Interpol to issue “Red Notices” alerting police around the world that the two were wanted in China. for embezzlement and accepting bribes — crimes which carry maximum penalties of death and life in prison respectively.
The nine subsequently “participated in an international campaign to threaten, harass, surveil and intimidate John Doe #1 and his family, in order to force John Doe #1 and Jane Doe #1 to return to the PRC,” Justice officials said.