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A Singaporean man was sentenced to 14 months in prison on Friday in a U.S. federal court after pleading guilty to acting as an illegal agent for Chinese intelligence, the U.S. Department of Justiceannounced.
Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo,admitted in July that he provided valuable information to Chinese intelligence and knowingly recruited others in the U.S. to do the same. The sentence was two months shorter than the punishment recommended by prosecutors,according to the Associated Press.
“This case serves as a reminder that China is using professional networking social media sites to target U.S. citizens with government security clearances, and to try to gain non-public and classified information. The threat is real, and we will prosecute foreign agents who exploit those platforms,” Michael R. Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in the DOJ statement.
The decision comes at a fraught time between the world’s two largest economies as they spar on everything from Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong to trade, maritime ambitions and technology.
Yeo, who began working with Chinese intelligence officers as early as 2015, targeted American government employees and an army officer to obtain information for the Chinese government, the FBI’s counterintelligence division previously said. 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.
He then posted job advertisements under the fake consultancy, which used the same name as a prominent American consulting company, and got numerous resumes from U.S. military and government personnel withsecurity clearances.
In July, the Straits Times reported, citing Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, that Singapore wasoffering consular assistance to Yeo.
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