Chinese agent tried to undermine veteran and Tiananmen Square dissident’s congressional campaign: feds
New York Daily News March 16, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — A retired Chinese secret police officer was charged Wednesday with a plot to undermine the congressional campaign of a former Tiananmen Square protester running for Congress on Long Island.
The agent, Qiming Lin, hired a private investigator in the United States to research the Democratic candidate running for Congress in Suffolk County. The complaint did not identify the candidate, but details matched Xiong Yan, a former student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests who later served in the U.S. military.
The agent allegedly suggested digging into the candidate’s sex life and determining whether he was gay or viewed child porn. Lin even suggested physically hurting the candidate if the private eye failed to find dirt on him, according to the complaint.
The six-month scheme began in September and continued up to Tuesday, the feds said.
“Right now we don’t want him to be elected,” Lin, a former officer in the Chinese Ministry of State Security, wrote in a message to the private investigator, according to the complaint unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
While Lin was retired from his law enforcement career in China, an FBI agent wrote in the complaint said that he “continued to act on behalf of the [Ministry of State Security] even if ostensibly retired.”
Lin was allegedly desperate to prevent the candidate from winning the race.
“If you don’t find anything after following him for a few weeks, can we manufacture something?” Lin texted.
Yan was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 and was arrested by the Chinese government for his involvement after the country put him on its “most wanted” list.
He was detained for 19 months before coming to the United States as a refugee in 1992. He served in the military from 1994 to 2003.
“Lin indicated that he wanted the [private investigator] to see if there could be a scandal about the Victim that could be publicly released, such as an extramarital affair or ‘stealing water,’” wrote FBI agent Jason Moritz, noting that “stealing water” is Cantonese slang for stealing money.
In another call two days later, Lin asked the investigator to dig up any dirt on the candidate from 1989, including on “extramarital affairs; affairs; uh, sexual harassment; or child porn; eh, [homosexual activity], things of that nature,” the feds wrote.
In the same conversation, Lin suggested creating an improper sexual encounter for the candidate.
“You go find a girl for him [the Victim], see if he would take the bait,” he told the investigator.
“You go find a girl ... Or see how he ... goes for prostitution, take some photos, something of that nature,” Lin said.
If they couldn’t find any negative information, Lin suggested injuring the candidate, prosecutors said.
“In the end, violence would be fine too. Huh? Beat him [chuckles], beat him until he cannot run for election. Heh, that’s the last resort. You think about it. Car accident, [he] will be completely wrecked [chuckles], right?” Lin allegedly said in a voicemail to the private investigator.
On Tuesday, the private investigator and Lin spoke a final time. Lin slowed the operation down, saying he hadn’t gotten full approval on certain aspects from his bosses, according to the feds.
“They have not given the final approval yet,” he allegedly said. “Because the Communist party, as you know ... It’s not just one person who can call the shots.”
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