On April 21, 2016, federal authorities formally charged 53-year old Amin Yu on an 18-count indictment for being a Chinese spy. She had operated discretely within the United States (U.S.) from 2002 until February 2014, and had supplied China with resources to develop their own underwater drone program.
Authorities believe Yu obtained submersible materials including underwater cables, connectors, and sonar from U.S., Canadian, and European and illegally exported it to Harbin Engineering University (HEU), a state-owned university in China. HEU conducts research and development (R&D) for the Chinese government and military.
Yu had worked for HEU as a researcher studying “underwater operated vehicles” until she came to the U.S. in 1998 according to the indictment. She owned two companies Amin International, based out of Mason, Ohio, and I-Four International, which she ran out of her home, to acquire the submersible parts.
Receipts showed that she had been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years on equipment, and was using money wires from the People’s Republic of China to pay for it. Yu denied everything saying she was a part-time assistant at the university and made only $40,000 per year.
The FBI notes that China adheres to a three-tier system of spy networks going after intelligence information. First, targeting current and former Chinese nationals who work for U.S. companies and research institutions. Second, involves bribing employees, theft, dumpster-diving, wiretapping and computer hacking. Third, establishing apparently innocent business associations with U.S. companies in order to obtain economic intelligence and proprietary information.
Chinese intelligence espionage is nothing new to the U.S. but has taken on a new intensity. In the past few Chinese spies had been caught due largely to relatively weak U.S. counterintelligence practices and minimal interest from the public.
Full article: Lack of Security Intelligence is Allowing Chinese Spy Rings to Grow in the U.S. (Family Security Matters)