Chinese National Charged with Acting as an Illegal Agent of the Chinese Government in the United States

On March 30, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the unsealing of an indictment against Sun Hoi Ying, a Chinese national, alleging that from 2017 through 2022, Sun acted in the United States as an agent of the Chinese government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General as required by law.

According to the DOJ, Sun participated in “Operation Fox Hunt,” a “transnational repression campaign” by the Chinese government to forcibly repatriate so-called “fugitives,” including citizens living legally in the U.S., through the threats and coercion. Sun allegedly provided 35 names to a private investigator working at a U.S. company of individuals described as “fugitives” from China. Sun also allegedly met with an Operation Fox Hunt target in New York City in coordination with a co-conspirator who is a local U.S. law enforcement officer. During the meeting, Sun threatened and pressured the victim, including by threatening that the Chinese government would take certain adverse and retaliatory actions if the victim did not comply with the demands of the Chinese government.

Sun is charged with one count of conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and one count of acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The statute Sun was charged under is similar to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which has become a DOJ enforcement priority in recent years.

An Informational Resource in a New Era of Foreign Agents Registration Act Enforcement.

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