The FBI has arrested a 27-year-old Chinese national on charges of acting as an illegal agent of China in the United States. Ji Chaqqun, who lived in Chicago, worked at the direction of a high-level intelligence officer in the Jiangsu province Ministry of State Security (MSS), a provincial department of the MSS for China, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in the US District Court in Chicago.
He was tasked with providing the intelligence officer with biographical information of eight individuals for possible recruitment, according to the complaint. The individuals included Chinese nationals who were working as engineers and scientists in the US, some of whom were US defence contractors, according to the complaint.
Ji has been charged with one count of knowingly acting in the US. He was born in China and arrived in the US in 2013 on an F-1 Visa, for the purpose of studying electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, according to the complaint.
In 2016, Ji enlisted in the US Army Reserves as an E4 Specialist under the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest programme, which authorises the US Armed Forces to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered vital to the national interest.
In his application to participate in the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) programme, Ji specifically denied having had contact with a foreign government within the past seven years, the complaint states. In a subsequent interview with a US Army officer, Ji again failed to disclose his relationship and contacts with the intelligence officer, the charge alleged.