It is like a scene from a movie.  A Chinese national is charged with being a spy in the United States and then trying to get American citizens from China to move back so that they could face charges overseas.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with Matthew G. Olsen, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, and Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), together announced the charging of 53-year-old Sun Hoi Ying (a/k/a Sun Haiying or "SUN") with acting and conspiring to act in the United States as an unregistered agent of the government of the People's Republic of China.  In other words, "SUN" is charged with being a spy.

Authorities further accuse Sun, who is currently considered to be at large in China, of being a key participant in a campaign launched by China.  "...(A) global plot to repress dissent and to forcibly repatriate so-called ‘fugitives’ – including citizens living legally in the United States – through the use of unsanctioned, unilateral, and illegal practices" is called "Operation Fox Hunt" according to U.S. Attorney Williams.

Under Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration it is estimated that approximately forty people have been arrested by China as a part of the program, although figures vary because of the lack of reliable information because of its clandestine nature.

Military Museum Of Chinese People's Revolution Opens To Public Free
FILE PHOTO:    BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 1: (CHINA OUT) Security guard walk past the Chinese national flag at the Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution on March 1, 2008 in Beijing, China. From March 1, the Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution becomes the first national level museum which opens to the public for free in Beijing. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Authorities say Sun tried to threaten and coerce a victim after first successfully threatening  a member of a local United States law enforcement agency.  That law enforcement official then became a co-conspirator in Sun's campaign, forcing the victim to comply with Sun's wishes, and the wishes of the Government of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

According to Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen, “The defendant allegedly traveled to the United States and enlisted others, including a sworn law enforcement officer, to spy on and blackmail his victims. Such conduct is both criminal and reprehensible.”

A related scheme, called "Operation Skynet" was also allegedly in place.  In Operation Skynet individuals were targeted to return to Chin and/or comply with China's directives, or reach financial "settlements" with the PRC.

In federal court documents released authorities allege that Sun acted on behalf of PRC without notifying the United States Attorney General, as required by law, from February 2017 through February 2022.

They say SUN worked on behalf of China to collect personal information and threaten victims living in the United States.  The targets were often persons identified as "fugitives" by the Chinese government, although they were living legally in the United States.  Sun is also accused of hiring private investigators in the U.S. to help collect data on these individuals.

In one case U.S. officials say Sun facilitated the kidnapping of the daughter of one of his intended victims who was living in New York City. While attempting to manipulate the victim, his daughter - who was pregnant at the time - was held against her will for eight months in China.  She was allegedly told not to request help from the United States government and that she would not be allowed to leave China until she convinced her father to return to that country.

Authorities say Sun, in cooperation with "a co-conspirator who is a local U.S. law enforcement officer," threatened and pressured another victim as well.

If convicted Sun would face up to five years in prison for conspiring to act as an agent of the Government of the PRC without notifying the Attorney General.  For the additional charge of acting as an agent of the government without notifying the Attorney General he could face an additional ten years in prison.

In addition to the agencies mentioned, the Office of National Security and International Narcotics Unit and Counterintelligence and Export Control Section assisted with, and are currently handling the case,

[AUTHOR'S NOTE:   This post is for informational purposes and is based largely on information received from the United States Attorney's Office Southern District of New York.  The reader is reminded all suspects and arrested persons are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.  At the time of this posting no additional information is required.]

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