Prosecutors charged five people in Brooklyn accused of being agents of China.
Prosecutors unsealed a series of complaints accusing agents of China of working to harass, stalk, and spy on dissidents living in the US.
One of the accused paid a private investigator to use violence to end a candidate’s run for Congress, instructing him to “beat him until he cannot run for election,” prosecutors said.
The Ministry of State Security agent who allegedly targeted the candidate, Qiming Lin, reportedly told the investigator: “We don’t want him to be elected,” adding, “we will have a lot more—more of this [work] in the future…Including right now [a] New York State legislator.”
Another man plotted to appear at another dissident’s house posing as an international sports committee in an attempt to steal the household’s passports. A person familiar with the investigation disclosed the dissident is Arthur Liu, the father of American figure-skating Olympian Alysa Liu, who fled China in 1989 after organizing student protests.
Authorities in the US have accused the Chinese government of illegally threatening political rivals and dissidents for decades, but law-enforcement officials say their efforts have become much bolder recently.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington has not responded to requests for comment.