Jun Wei Yeo alias Dickson Yeo, a Singapore national on Friday (Jul 24) pleaded guilty to using his political consultancy in the United States as a front to collect information for Chinese intelligence, the US Justice Department announced.
Operating under the direction of Chinese intelligence, Jun Wei Yeo confessed to targeting U.S. government employees and an Army officer to obtain information for the government of China.
Yeo made use of various social media sites to carry out the taskings given to him by Chinese intelligence operatives. In 2018, Yeo created a fake consulting company (that used the same name as a prominent U.S. consulting firm that conducts public and government relations) and posted job advertisements under that company name. Ninety percent of the resumes Yeo received in response were from U.S. military and government personnel with security clearances, and he passed resumes of interest to one of the Chinese intelligence operatives.
Yeo also used Linkedin, a professional networking website that is focused on career and employment information, to carry out the taskings he received from Chinese intelligence officials. Yeo identified individuals with resumes and job descriptions suggesting that they would have access to valuable information. After he identified individuals worth targeting, Yeo followed guidance he received from Chinese intelligence operatives regarding how to recruit potential targets, including identifying their vulnerabilities, such as dissatisfaction with work or financial difficulties.
“The Chinese Government uses an array of duplicity to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's National Security Division John C. Demers.
“Yeo was central to one such scheme, using career networking sites and a false consulting firm to lure Americans who might be of interest to the Chinese government. This is yet another example of the Chinese government’s exploitation of the openness of American society.” he added.
Yeo was pursuing his PhD program at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP). Yeo’s PhD supervisor was Huang Jing– a Chinese-American political scientist who had his Singapore permanent residence revoked in 2017 after the home affairs ministry said he tried to influence foreign policy for an unknown government.
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