A CHINESE national who came to the US on a student visa and later enlisted in the army reserves was arrested Tuesday in Chicago and accused of helping Beijing attempt to recruit American scientists and engineers.
Ji Chaoqun was allegedly tasked with providing Chinese intelligence with biographical information about eight American citizens – some of whom were US defence contractors.
The 27-year-old was charged with one count of knowingly acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the US Attorney General.
According to a court affidavit, Ji was working at the direction of a “high-level intelligence officer” in China’s Ministry of State Security, which “handles civilian intelligence collection and is responsible for counter-intelligence and foreign intelligence, as well as political security”.
All eight of the people Ji allegedly researched were naturalised American citizens, according to authorities.
An affidavit filed in federal court by an FBI investigator specialising in espionage claims among the people targeted was an engineer at one of “the world’s top aircraft engine suppliers for both commercial and military aircraft”.