US citizen is accused of being a Chinese spy after ‘delivering digital cards with classified national security information’ to Beijing’s Ministry of State Security
Xuehua ‘Edward’ Peng was caught on camera picking up at “dead drops” in several US cities, and ‘leaving envelopes containing $20,000 cash in hotel rooms’
‘Edward’ Peng, 56, was arrested at his San Francisco home on Friday for acting as an agent of a foreign government
The complaint alleges he retrieved four SD cards from hotel rooms between 2015 and 2018, and in each instance traveled to Beijing shortly thereafter
Peng is held without bond pending further proceedings after he was arrested Friday
He had been serving as a tour guide prior to his arrest, and operated sightseeing trips for Chinese tourists in San Francisco
If convicted, Peng faces a maximum sentence of 10 years, and a fine of $250,000
Justice Department footage shows US citizen Xuehua “Edward” Peng accused of spying is caught on surveillance camera retrieving SD cards from hotel room
A citizen of the United States is facing federal charges for allegedly spying on behalf of the Chinese government. The San Francisco tour guide spied on the US for China over the course of years, passing confidential information he picked up at “dead drops” in several US cities, federal prosecutors said Monday.
Xuehua ‘Edward’ Peng, 56, delivered classified information relating to national security to the Chinese government according to a complaint that was unsealed on Monday.
The complaint alleges he retrieved four SD cards from hotel rooms between October 2015 and June 2018, and in each instance traveled to Beijing shortly thereafter.
Peng also left behind $20,000 cash in an envelope four times in that same period.
He was arrested on Friday at his $1.2 million home in California and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in San Francisco, who ordered Peng be held without bond pending further proceedings.
The suspect, 56-year-old Xuehua Peng, allegedly dropped money and picked up classified information at hotel rooms in Oakland, Newark, California, and Columbus, Georgia, according to an indictment that was unsealed Monday.
Peng, who also went by the name Edward Peng, then passed the classified information — which was stored on SD cards — to officials form the Ministry of State Security in Beijing, prosecutors allege.
Justice Department footage shows US citizen accused of spying
“Defendant Xuehua [Edward] Peng is charged with executing dead drops, delivering payments, and personally carrying to Beijing, China, secure digital cards containing classified information related to the national security of the United States,” Anderson added.
He went on to state: ‘The charges announced today provide a rare glimpse into the secret efforts of the People’s Republic of China to obtain classified national security information from the United States and the battle being waged by our intelligence and law-enforcement communities to protect our people, our ideas, and our national defense.’
‘According to the allegations, Peng conducted numerous dead drops here in the United States on behalf of Chinese intelligence officers and delivered classified information to them in China. His arrest exposes and disrupts an operation by those Chinese intelligence officers to collect such information without having to step foot in this country,’ said Assistant Attorney General of National Security John C. Demers.
‘Coming on top of our many recent Chinese espionage cases – involving both national defense and intellectual property information – this case illustrates the seriousness of Chinese espionage efforts and the determination of the United States to thwart them.’
The government is hoping this sends a strong and clear message to China.
‘According to the allegations, Peng conducted numerous dead drops here in the United States on behalf of Chinese intelligence officers and delivered classified information to them in China’ – U.S. prosecutors
Courtesy: Xuehua Peng Aw Complaint 09… @SCRIBD
‘Our message is clear: the FBI, along with our intelligence community partners, will pursue foreign adversaries -at any level of an operation- and disrupt their malicious activity when it is detected.’
If convicted, Peng faces a maximum sentence of 10 years, and a fine of $250,000 for acting as an agent of a foreign government.
Peng, who lived in a suburb of San Francisco and owned a site-seeing company, did not steal the confidential information himself but acted as a courier between his handlers in China and his source in the United States, authorities charge.
Peng had been serving as a tour guide prior to his arrest, and operated sightseeing trips for Chinese tourists in San Francisco while also allegedly serving as a courier for China’s Ministry of State Security.