Illegal agents convicted of acting on behalf of Chinese government in Brooklyn

Former NYPD sergeant among convicted, revealing PRC's deep reach into US territory

June 20, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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In a landmark case against the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted three men, including a retired NYPD sergeant, of stalking Chinese nationals on U.S. soil and acting as illegal agents of the PRC.

The men are the first defendants to be convicted following a U.S. trial connected to PRC’s notorious repatriation program, “Operation Fox Hunt.”

The defendants, Michael McMahon, Zhu Yong (also known as “Jason Zhu”) and Zheng Congying, were found guilty of various charges related to their illegal activities. McMahon and Zhu knowingly acted under the direction of PRC government officials, executing surveillance and engaging in a campaign to coerce US residents into returning to the PRC. Zheng was also involved in the interstate stalking of the same victims, leaving a threatening note at their residence.

US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, expressed grave concern over these events, particularly highlighting the involvement of retired NYPD Sergeant McMahon in such activities. Peace emphasized the commitment of US agencies to expose and thwart attempts by the Chinese government to perpetrate transnational repression schemes violating US laws.

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“It is particularly troubling that defendant Michael McMahon, a former sergeant in the New York City Police Department, engaged in surveillance, harassment, and stalking on behalf of a foreign power for money,” Peace said.

The jury confirmed that the three defendants had engaged in a campaign of harassment and coercion to force the return of Chinese nationals living in the U.S. back to the PRC. The case was built around evidence from 2016 to 2019, during which the defendants conducted this campaign as part of “Operation Fox Hunt.”

Evidence showed that McMahon, hired by Zhu, exploited his background in law enforcement to obtain detailed information about the victims. The operation was supervised and directed by several PRC officials, including a PRC police officer and a PRC prosecutor. In an instance of their coercive tactics, the operatives transported an 82-year-old man from China to New Jersey to pressure his son, one of the targets, to return to China.

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