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Bay Area man sentenced for Chinese espionage

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ASSOCIATED
PRESS VIA MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL

A
former Bay Area tour operator was sentenced to four years in prison
for serving as an unregistered agent for China’s Ministry of State
Security in a scheme to use “dead drops” to pick up digital
memory cards from a source and take them to China. Xuehua Edward
Peng, 56, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Oakland. He was
also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Peng pleaded guilty on Nov. 25, 2019, to acting at the direction and
under the control of ministry of state security officials in China.
If convicted at trial, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison
and a $250,000 fine. The Hayward resident admitted that while he was
on a business trip to China in March 2015, an official of the
People’s Republic of China introduced himself and asked Peng to use
his U.S. citizenship to assist him. Peng came to understand the
official worked for China’s Ministry of State Security but agreed
to take actions in the U.S. on behalf of China and learned how to use
dead drops: rent hotel rooms, leave money and leave for several
hours. “The official instructed Peng to return later and retrieve
small electronic storage devices that the source would leave for
him,” a Justice Department statement said. “Thereafter, Peng was
to fly to the PRC and deliver the retrieved devices to the PRC
official. Peng never met nor interacted with the individual who left
the devices for him and was instructed not to access the information
stored on the SD cards.”

READ MORE AT THE MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL



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