⚫ Chinese agents in NJ – who are they going after?

⚫ The FBI in NJ is cracking down on transnational repression

⚫ If you’ve been targeted, the Feds want to know

It sounds like something out of a Jason Bourne movie but it’s real, and it’s increasingly happening in New Jersey.

The FBI has issued an alert that People’s Republic of China security agents are illegally harassing, stalking, terrorizing and trying to bribe individuals in the Garden State.

Jim Dennehy, the special agent in  harge of the FBI in New Jersey, says most of the time the end-game of these Chinese security agents is “to bring people back to China in order to basically shut them up, and to have them pay for criticizing the Chinese government.”

Who they're going after

He said the Chinese will frequently target political and human rights activists, dissidents, journalists, political opponents and various religious groups, either with their own agents who enter the U.S. under false pretenses, or they may try to hire people who live here to do their dirty work.

“There’s an effort called Fox Hunt that they have where they focus on financial crimes of these individuals, and sometimes those financial crimes are just trumped-up charges,” he said.

He said Chinese agents will use a variety of techniques to intimidate their targets.

“Sometimes they show up at their front doors, sometimes it’s harassing phone calls, and the FBI is working with a lot of our local and state partners as a way of combatting this.”

(Getty Stock)

A terrifying ordeal

He said at other times they will go to an individual's homes “with firearms in order to intimidate and harass, and these victims are hiding in their own homes, under couches because they don’t want to be seen or actually kidnapped.”

Dennehy noted these agents will also go after the children of Chinese immigrants and “sometimes it’s others who might do business in China and have criticisms of the Chinese government or what have you, really they’re targeting just anybody who criticizes the regime.”

He said occasionally the Chinese will hire private investigators here in Jersey “who might be unwittingly able to help surveil or to monitor or even to be part of the harassment campaign against these victims.”

NJ residents may be recruited to help

And they may also attempt to bribe U.S.-born individuals with all-expense-paid trips and cash to provide information.

“We’ve arrested some in the recent past who are American-born individuals who knowingly violating the law by operating as an agent for China,” he said.

Fraudsters will pose as Chinese authorities calling potential victims, making threats and demanding money.

“Anybody calling you up and accusing you of violating law or forcing you to pay them money is probably doing something illegal.”

Dennehy said the FBI has made cracking down on this kind of transnational repression a top priority.

“It’s becoming more and more serious every single day, not a movie, not Hollywood,” he said.

He said if any New Jerseyan feels like they are a victim of this kind of harassment they can file a complaint online here.

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David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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