Belgium — Chinese Spy Arrested; Extradited to the United States

“This indictment alleges that a Chinese intelligence officer sought to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American company that leads the way in aerospace.”

John Demers — Assistant US attorney general for national security

“What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country.”

US Vice-President Mike Pence

“Beginning in at least December 2013 and continuing until his arrest, Xu targeted certain companies inside and outside the United States that are recognised as leaders in the aviation field. He identified experts who worked for these companies and recruited them to travel to China, often initially under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation.”

US DoJ

Yanjun Xu, a.k.a. Qu Hui or Zhang Hui

A Chinese Intelligence officer was arrested in Belgium in April 2018 and extradited on October 9 2018 to the United States. According to the indictment, the man attempted to steal trade secrets from US aerospace companies. According to the Justice Department, Belgian law enforcement officials provided significant assistance in securing the arrest and facilitating the surrender of Xu from Belgium. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Yanjun Xu, a Chinese intelligence officer — a.k.a. Qu Hui or Zhang Hui — was arrested on April 1st 2018 in Belgium. Mr Xu was extradited on October 9 2018 to the United States, where he is charged with attempted industrial espionage.

Yanjun Xu, a deputy division director for the ministry’s Jiangsu state security department, is accused of targeting several aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric Co, the US justice department said in a statement.

“The formal complaint alleges that Xu is a senior officer with China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) and has represented himself as an associate of Jiangsu Science & Technology Promotion Association to obtain trade secrets from US companies including GE Aviation, according to court documents.”

The Washington Post reported that he was lured to Belgium by US federal law enforcement agents.

The extradition of Xu, was a joint effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cincinnati Division, the FBI Legal Attaché’s Office in Brussels, and Belgian law enforcement officials.

This kind of operation/extradition is “unprecedented” according to the US Justice Department.

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang dismissed the allegations and called on the U.S. to deal with the matter “fairly in accordance with law” and ensure Xu’s “legitimate rights and interests.”

“The U.S. accusation is something made out of thin air,” Lu told reporters at a daily news briefing.

On October 12, a US federal court decided to  keep the alleged Chinese spy in jail ahead of pretrial hearings because the defendant is sticking to what federal prosecutors say is a false alias.

US Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman of the district of Southern Ohio said the defendant, Xu Yanjun, “provided a background that is in contrast to the indictment”, according to court documents made public this week.

Other reasons Bowman decided Xu is a flight risk include his lack of a residence or “significant community or family ties” in the US.

Xu has pleaded not guilty. He could be given a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

According to individuals familiar with the matter, Xu’s case is linked to the arrest last month of Ji Chaoqun, 27, a Chinese citizen living in Chicago.

Ji is accused of passing information on eight Americans to Chinese intelligence officers for possible recruitment.

Ji targeted individuals in science and tech industries, seven of whom worked for or recently retired from US defence contractors. All were naturalised US citizens born either in mainland China or the self-governed island of Taiwan.

According to a criminal complaint, Ji began communicating with Chinese intelligence officers in late 2013. He travelled to and from China three times between 2013 and 2015.

US DOJ: Chinese spy tried to steal trade secrets

REFERENCES

Senior Chinese official charged with stealing US trade secrets — Guardian

US court keeping accused Chinese spy jailed over use of alias ahead of pretrial hearings — South China Morning Post

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Belgium — Chinese Spy Arrested; Extradited to the United States

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