A Brooklyn federal jury convicted two men for acting as illegal agents of the Chinese government, part of a harassment campaign of a former Chinese official and his family in New Jersey. It was the first trial of defendants charged for their alleged participation in "Operation Fox Hunt," an effort by the Chinese government to forcibly repatriate Chinese nationals living abroad. The Justice Department said Beijing has attempted to recruit U.S. private eyes to add to its efforts, reports the Wall Street Journal. The campaign included life-threatening messages, surveillance of relatives, tracking whereabouts and digging up private information. Michael McMahon, a former New York City police officer member turned private investigator, was found guilty of three counts. Jurors convicted him of failing to register with the Justice Department as an agent of a foreign country and two charges related to stalking. He was acquitted on a fourth count of conspiring to act as an illegal foreign agent. A co-defendant, Chinese national Zhu Yong, was convicted of the same charges. Another co-defendant, Zheng Congying, was acquitted of two charges related to acting as an illegal foreign agent but convicted on two counts of stalking. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney charged the three defendants in 2020, alleging that they and others conspired to stalk and intimidate Xu Jin, a former Chinese government official, and his family in an effort to scare him into returning to China to serve a 10-year prison sentence.
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