The United Sates has charged eight people, including six Chinese citizens, over a three-year plot to intimidate a US resident into returning to China to face criminal charges.
The case is believed to be part of the ruling Communist Party’s Operation Fox Hunt, an international anti-corruption campaign targeting Chinese fugitives – often former official or rich individuals suspected of economic crimes.
On Wednesday the US Department of Justice said the charges included “conspiring to act in the US as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China.” Five people have been arrested, while three are believed to be at large in China.
In 2016, the group – which includes an American-licensed private investigator – is alleged to have embarked on an illegal campaign targeting a former Chinese government official, who has lived in the US since 2010. They are accused of recording and harassing his daughter, taping a threatening note to his front door and flying his elderly father from China – allegedly against his will – in 2017 to pressure his son to return to China.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, US Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said the arrests sent a message that the US “will not tolerate this type of flagrant conduct on our shores.
“Without coordination with our government, China’s repatriation squads enter the United States, surveil and locate the alleged fugitives, and deploy intimidation and other tactics to force them back into China where they would face certain imprisonment or worse following illegitimate trials,” said Demers.