Chinese man accused of spying, helping recruit US engineers

Author: 
AP
ID: 
1537932982324844400
Wed, 2018-09-26 (All day)

CHICAGO: A Chinese citizen living in Chicago was arrested Tuesday for allegedly spying, including by helping with the recruitment of US engineers, defense contractors and scientists for intelligence services in China, federal prosecutors said.
Ji Chaoqun, 27, is charged with one count of knowingly acting in the US as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification of the attorney general, a statement from the US attorney’s office in Chicago said. He allegedly worked at the direction of high-ranking intelligence officials with the People’s Republic of China and was given the task of providing information about eight people for possible recruitment.
Ji made an initial appearance in federal court in downtown Chicago, looking tired and fidgeting as he stood before US Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason. Ji huddled with a Chinese-language interpreter for much of the 15-minute hearing. But when the judge asked if he understood his rights, Ji lifted his head and said in English, “I understand.”
Assistant US Attorney Shoba Pillay said at the hearing that Ji faces up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted on the one count.
Through a lawyer, Laura Hoey, Ji also asked that the Chinese consulate be notified about his arrest. Judge Mason ordered that Ji remain in custody for now, and US Marshal’s agents handcuffed him and led him away. No additional hearings were immediately set.
A 17-page criminal complaint says Ji came to the US in 2013 on a student visa to study engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He enlisted in the US Army Reserves in 2016 under a program that allows some immigrants living in the country legally to serve in the military if their skills could be vital to US interests.
There was no answer at a number for the Chinese consulate in Chicago on Tuesday evening.

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