The other two, a former NYPD officer, worked on ‘Operation Fox Hunt’, a repatriation effort ordered by Beijing, authorities said.
A retired New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant and two other men have been indicted for their roles in a scheme to forcibly repatriate US residents to China, according to authorities.
Retired Sergeant Michael McMahon, 55, and Queens resident Zhu Yong, 66, were convicted Tuesday by a Brooklyn jury of acting as illegal agents of the Chinese government, interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit interstate stalking.
The men, along with Zheng Congying, who was convicted of interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit interstate stalking, were part of “Operation Fox Hunt,” which U.S. authorities have called China’s “global and extraterrestrial repatriation effort” targeting Chinese dissidents and dissidents. Leader Xi Jinping.
Beijing said the effort was part of an anti-corruption campaign and that its law enforcement agencies were following international law.
Around 10,000 Chinese nationals have been forcibly returned worldwide since 2014, according to a report by Spanish-based rights group Safeguard Defender.
Prosecutors said McMahon and Zhu waged a campaign to “harass, stalk and coerce” U.S. residents to return to China.
In a statement, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace said McMahon and Zhu “knowingly acted at the direction of a hostile foreign state”.
“It is particularly troubling that defendant Michael McMahon, a former sergeant with the New York City Police Department, engaged in surveillance, harassment and extortion on behalf of a foreign power for money,” Peace said in a statement.
“We will persist in uncovering and undermining the Chinese government’s efforts to reach across our borders and plan transnational repression targeting victims in the United States in violation of our laws,” he said.
Prosecutors said Zhu hired McMahon, who was working as a private detective, to monitor the New Jersey resident wanted by Beijing from 2016 to 2019. McMahon provided information on the wanted man, his wife and daughter, including his previously unknown US address. Chinese workers.
The operation was overseen by several Chinese officials, including two who took the wanted man’s elderly father from China to the United States in 2017 in an attempt to convince him to return to China.
Meanwhile, Zheng, in September 2018, visited the New Jersey residence of the man and his wife. After hitting the front door and trying to force it open, prosecutors said Zheng and a co-conspirator left a note that read, “If you want to go back to the mainland and spend 10 years in prison, all of your wife and children All right. This is over!”
McMahon, who served up to 20 years in prison, argued during the trial that he did not know he was working for China. Three other accused in the case had earlier pleaded guilty.
The Chinese embassy in Washington said the suspects were not Chinese law enforcement. It termed the allegations as slanderous or rumour-based, terming efforts to repatriate fugitives as a legitimate cause.
Separately in April, US authorities arrested two men accused of operating a “secret police station” in New York City on behalf of the Chinese government. They were accused of using the post to identify Chinese dissidents living in the United States.