Singapore/Washington: A Singaporean man pleaded guilty to acting under the direction of Chinese intelligence officials to obtain sensitive information from Americans, the US Justice Department said.
Yeo Jun Wei pleaded guilty on Friday in a federal court in Washington D.C. to one count of acting within the U.S. as an illegal foreign agent; the Singapore-based Straits Times quoted the Department as saying.
Court documents said that he used his political consultancy in the U.S. as a front to collect information for Chinese intelligence, targeting American military and government employees with security clearances on professional networking social media sites.
Yeo would pay them to write reports which he said were meant for clients in Asia, but which were in reality sent to the Chinese government without their knowledge.
He was recruited in 2015 by China intelligence operatives during a visit to Beijing, where he gave a presentation on the political situation in South-east Asia, according to the documents.
In a ” statement of facts” submitted to the court and signed by Yeo, he admitted he was fully aware he was working for Chinese intelligence, meeting agents dozens of times and being given special treatment when he travelled to China, the Straits Times reported.
He received over 400 resumes, 90 per cent of which were from U.S. military and government personnel with security clearances, and passed resumes of interest on to a Chinese intelligence operative.
Yeo eventually moved to Washington D.C. from January to July 2019, where he attended multiple events at think-tanks to network and recruited more people to write reports.
He was arrested when he returned to the U.S. in November that year to try and get a U.S. army officer working at the Pentagon to provide more confidential information.