NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – A pregnant U.S. citizen has been detained in China for eight months and threatened not to leave unless she convinces her mother to return to China, authorities revealed Wednesday when they arrested a man. has sued what they say are U.S. law enforcement and others to help repatriate Chinese individuals experiencing trouble at home.
Sun Hoi Ying, 53, has been charged in a criminal case with the Manhattan Federal Court for failing to register as an agent of the People’s Republic of China, as he allegedly chased about 35 individuals who were refugees from China. described.
The charge came in an FBI investigation of individuals working under the leadership of Chinese government officials to pressure others in the US and elsewhere to return to China to face charges or make financial settlements with the government there. reach.
According to a release by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, Sun is at large in China after working in the United States from February 2017 to February 2022 when he hired private investigators in the U.S. to provide personal information about targets of the Chinese government. to gather.
In one case, Sun met an individual in New York City, along with a local U.S. law enforcement officer, to threaten and pressure the individual targeted by the Chinese government with allegations that he would face adverse and retaliatory actions if she does not. comply with Chinese government demands, the complaint reads.
In another one, a pregnant U.S. citizen became entangled in Sun’s pursuits when she traveled to China with her spouse and a child in October 2016 to visit family, the complaint alleged.
After the visit, the woman’s spouse and child were allowed to leave the country, but the woman was told by a prosecutor that she was forbidden to leave until she had her mother returned to China to solve a criminal case. resulting from alleged corruption at a property management company where she worked, it said.
The complaint said she was detained against her will.
The woman was allowed to leave China in May 2017 after US officials in China were notified that the ban would be lifted if she carried certain documents from China to give to her mother, the complaint reads.
“We claim Mr. Sun, as part of that campaign, attempted to threaten a victim and force them to bow to the PRC’s will, even with the help of a co-conspirator who is a member of local U.S. law enforcement to confirm that the victim had no choice. but to meet the demands of the PRC government, ”Williams said.
Williams said the man’s actions were part of what the VRC government called “Operation Fox Hunt” when it announced in July 2014 that it would pursue and repatriate Chinese citizens.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said Sun “has called on others, including a sworn law enforcement officer, to spy on and blackmail his victims. Such actions are both criminal and reprehensible. “
The complaint said Sun posed as the owner of a China-based insurance loss adjustment company that helped a Chinese court find fugitives fleeing economic crimes so they would not face lawsuits.
The latest case is part of a trend of what the FBI and the Department of Justice have described as “transnational repression” – episodes in which foreign government agents tried to silence dissidents living in the United States. The pattern is worrying enough for federal law enforcement that they have launched a section on the FBI website dedicated to highlighting the problem and the cases that have been filed.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department accused five people of acting on behalf of the Chinese government in a campaign to stalk, intimidate and silence government activists or dissidents, including a congressional candidate in New York. In a 2020 case in which the Fox Hunt investigation was launched, prosecutors charged eight people in a Chinese government’s pressure campaign aimed at forcing a New Jersey man wanted by Beijing to return to China to stop facing charges.
The Chinese government is not alone in such efforts. Other transnational repression cases, for example, involved the Iranian government.
Associated Press journalist Eric Tucker contributed to this Washington report.