(Bloomberg) — A Singaporean man pleaded guilty to acting as an illegal agent for Chinese intelligence in the U.S., according to a statement posted Friday on the U.S. Department of Justice website.
Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, admitted that he provided valuable information to Chinese intelligence and knowingly recruited others in the U.S. to do the same, a Federal Bureau of Investigation officer said in the statement. Sentencing is set for Oct. 9, with a maximum penalty of 10 years.
“Today’s guilty plea underscores the ways that the Chinese government continues to target Americans with access to sensitive government information, including using the Internet and non-Chinese nationals to target Americans who never leave the United States,” said Michael Sherwin, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Conflict between the two superpowers has escalated recently as the Trump administration earlier this week ordered China to close its Houston consulate — saying it served as a hub for spying and influence operations — and China responded by ordering the closing of a U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
Yeo, who began working with Chinese intelligence officers as early as 2015, had targeted American government employees and an army officer to obtain information for the Chinese government, according to Alan Kohler Jr., assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Yeo admitted to setting up a fake consulting firm in 2018 to further his scheme and looked for individuals with sensitive information who were vulnerable to recruitment, Kohler said.
Yeo posted job advertisements under his fake consultancy, which used the same name as a prominent American consulting company, and got numerous resumes from U.S. military and government personnel with security clearances, the statement said.