On Thursday, the Justice Department indicted nine people, including Chinese nationals and an American private investigator, oncalled “Fox Hunt” that forcibly repatriated opponents of the Beijing regime. The nine people were charged with acting as , conspiracy, and unlawful stalking of dissidents and Beijing regime critics between 2016 and 2019. Prosecutors said the men were operating under the direction of China’s and spied on and harassed U.S. residents, pressuring them to return to China. Chinese Fox Hunt teams are undercover agents from the government’s Ministry of recruited to target dissidents, human rights activists, and other political opponents.
The indictment said many of Fox Hunt’s targets reside in the United States and are citizens or permanent residents. the operation as a threat before Thursday’s indictments were unsealed. “Fox Hunt is a sweeping bid by [Chinese President] Xi Jinping to target Chinese nationals he sees as threats and who live outside of China across the world,” A. Wray said in a speech . One of those indicted was Tu Lan, a prosecutor with the Hanyang People’s Procuratorate near Wuhan, China. Court documents charge that Mr. Tu traveled to the United States, directed the harassment campaign, and ordered another defendant to destroy evidence in the FBI investigation.
“Law enforcement officials around the world act according to a professional code of conduct,” said ActingMark Lesko in the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “That a not only directed and participated in a criminal scheme on U.S. soil but then attempted to cover it up is an affront to the justice of the highest order.” Several of those named in the indictment are Chinese police, including Hu Ji, who works for the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, and two other Chinese who were not identified by name but . The defendants also employed a New Jersey-based private investigator, identified in as Michael McMahon, for the operations. Mr. McMahon was among those indicted. Another unidentified private investigator also was used by the Chinese agents.
According to the indictment, the operations have been underway since 2016 and targeted several people identified only as John Doe for rendition to China. Oneprocessn involved the use of “psychological coercion” by a New Jersey man by bringing his elderly father to theand threatening him in front of his son. Chinese officials also imprisoned the sister of the Fox Hunt her to send a slide show to her brother urging him to return to China. The Justice Department indictment also claimed the Chinese pressured the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, to issue “red notices” against the regime opponent. The operation failed,d but federal authorities were tipped off to the process and later questioned one of the Chinese agents involved in the plot.
have described China’s Fox Hunt operatives operating similarly to terrorists, using threats and imprisonment of family members and the seizure of assets to coerce targets to return. Mr. Wray said that in one a target to return to China or take his own life. “These people are essentially engaged in rogue law enforcement … suppressing dissent and trying to pressure citizens,” he said . The federal grand jury indictment was handed up in New York and superseded a previous charges. The final indictment in May included two counts and six defendants.
The six-count indictment does notabout FoxHunt’s operations. However, two co-conspirators are not named in the indictment, indicating they may have acted as informants. An FBI complaint in the hired by the Chinese “was a confidential human source for the FBI.” In addition to Mr. Tu, Mr. H, you, and Mr. McMahon, the others indicted include Li Minjun, a medical doctor who worked at a hospital in Hubei province; Zhu Feng, Zheng Congying, and Zhu Yong, who are Chinese nationals; and permanent U.S. resident Zhai Yongqiang, a Chinesecitizenl who lived in California.
Kevin K. Tung, aZhu Yon,g said: “Based on the discovery we received thus far and the facts we are aware of, we have a good basis to believe that our client Yong Zhu is innocent.” Lawyers for the other defendants either did not comment or could not be reached for comment. Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis said that “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 of U.S. law.” FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Alan E. Kohler said the Chinese government “sent operatives to America to harass, surveil, and coerce U.S. residents to return to China. These acts are undemocratic, authoritarian, and contrary to the rule of law.”