A federal judge in Brooklyn opened arrest warrants and criminal complaints against several citizens of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). The criminal charges accuse several individuals with acting as agents for the Chinese government in a years long operation known as “Fox Hunt.” The complaint alleges that the defendants have been engaged in a consistent campaign to coerce certain Chinese citizens to return to China and that such efforts were direct violations of U.S. laws that prohibit foreign countries to interfere with United States criminal law enforcement.
The allegations in detail
The complaint was opened on Oct. 28, 2020. According to the acting United States attorney in the Eastern District of New York, eight Chinese individuals were engaged in Fox Hunt, which was described by Chinese officials as an international anti-corruption campaign. According to the federal complaint, the PRC government targeted an individual identified as John Doe-1 in order to persuade him to return to China.
The methods used by the Chinese agents violate both United States and international law. The complaint alleges that the Chinese agents used surveillance and coercion, harassment of John Doe-1’s daughter and continued harassment of the John Doe-1 himself. In one episode, the United States alleges that one or more of the defendants left a note on John Doe-1’s residence which read, ““If you are willing to go back to mainland and spend 10 years in prison, your wife and children will be all right. That’s the end of this matter!”
The PRC agents are also alleged to have sent other forms of coercive mail, such as letters, packages and video recordings, to John Doe-1. Similar tactics were also used with John Doe-1’s adult daughter.
The possible consequences
If convicted, the defendants in this case face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Anyone facing similar charges would be acting wisely by consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney with a background in federal crimes. A knowledgeable attorney can provide an evaluation of the evidence, suggest various legal defenses and, if appropriate, engage in negotiations to hammer out a plea agreement.