Airline Employee Pleads Guilty to Transporting Packages for Chinese Military Officials Through JFK
US Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said that this case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business in US to engage in illegal activity.
Representative image (Reuters)
New York: A former manager of an international airline has pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of the Chinese government, a role under which she placed packages on flights from New York to Beijing at the direction of military officers assigned to China's mission to the UN.
Ying Lin abused her privileges to transport packages from John F Kennedy International Airport to China aboard Air Carrier flights at the behest of the Chinese military officers and in violation of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations.
She pleaded guilty to acting as an agent of China, without notification to the Attorney General, by working at the direction and control of military officers assigned to the Permanent Mission of China to the UN.
Lin, the former manager of China-headquartered Air Carrier, faces up to 10 years' imprisonment.
As part of the guilty plea, Lin agreed to forfeit approximately USD 25,000 as well as an additional USD 145,000 in connection with her resolution of the government's forfeiture verdict in a federal case.
"This case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business here to engage in illegal activity," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said.
"Covertly doing the Chinese military's bidding on US soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate US government oversight," Demers said.
US Attorney Richard Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York said Lin's actions as an agent of the Chinese government helped Chinese military officers to evade US law enforcement scrutiny of packages that they sent from New York to Beijing.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said "Lin was secreting packages through some of the country's busiest airports, using her work with the Chinese government to thwart our security measures.
"We believe this case isn't unique and hope it serves as an example that the Chinese and other foreign governments can't break our laws with impunity".
Lin worked for the Air Carrier from 2002 to 2015 as a counter agent at JFK Airport and from 2015 through April 2016 as the station manager at Newark Liberty International Airport.
During her employment with the Air Carrier, Lin accepted packages from Chinese military officers, and placed those packages aboard Air Carrier flights to China as unaccompanied luggage or checked in the packages under the names of other passengers flying on those flights.
As the Chinese military officers did not travel on those flights, Lin's actions were contrary to a security programme that required that checked baggage be accepted only from ticketed passengers, thereby violating TSA regulations.
In addition, Lin encouraged other Air Carrier employees to assist the Chinese military officers, instructing those employees that because the Air Carrier was a Chinese company, their primary loyalty should be to China.
In exchange for her work at the direction and under the control of Chinese military officers and other Chinese government officials, Lin received benefits from the Chinese mission and Chinese consulate in New York.
These benefits included tax-exempt purchases of liquor, cigarettes and electronic devices worth tens of thousands of dollars. These benefits also included free contracting work at the defendant's two residences in Queens,
New York, by Chinese construction workers who were permitted under the terms of their visas to work only on Chinese government facilities.
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