On Wednesday, July 6, a grand jury in federal court in Brooklyn charged five individuals with various crimes pertaining to a transnational repression scheme orchestrated on behalf of the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), according to a statement from The Department of Justice.
Three of the defendants—Fan “Frank” Liu, Matthew Ziburis, and Qiang “Jason” Sun—allegedly perpetrated in the transnational repression scheme to target U.S. residents whose political views and actions are disfavored by the PRC government, such as advocating for democracy in the PRC.
Liu and Ziburis were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint in March 2022, while Sun remains at large.
Two other defendants charged in the scheme– Craig Miller, a 15-year employee of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), currently assigned as a Deportation Officer, and Derrick Taylor, Miller a retired DHS law enforcement agent who presently works as a private investigator in Irvine, California–are charged obstruction of justice, destroying evidence and lying to the FBI around the procurement and dissemination of sensitive and confidential information.
“As alleged, this case involves a multifaceted campaign to silence, harass, discredit and spy on U.S. residents for exercising their freedom of speech – aided by a current federal law enforcement officer and a private investigator who provided confidential information about U.S. residents from a restricted law enforcement database, and when confronted about their improper conduct, lied and destroyed evidence,” stated United States Attorney Peace.
“We will defend the rights of people in the United States to engage in free speech and political expression, including views the PRC government wants to silence” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Olsen.
If convicted of the charges, Liu faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment; Ziburis, Sun, and Taylor face up to 25 years’ imprisonment; and Miller faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The FBI has created a website for victims to report efforts by foreign governments to stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States. If you believe that you are or have been a victim of transnational repression, please visit https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/counterintelligence/transnational-repression.