Kun Shan Chun or better known in America as Joey Chun, plead guilty to espionage on Monday. The former FBI electronics technician admitted to the court that he had been feeding sensitive information to a Chinese official.
The 46-year-old had been a long-time employee of the bureau — joining their ranks in 1997 — and no one saw the deceit coming. Chun was born in Guangdong, but immigrated to the US in 1986 where he became a naturalized citizen.
According to Reuters, beginning in 2011, Chun started to pass on sensitive information to the Chinese official, which occurred on several occasions over the years. Chun had been introduced to the Chinese government official on a business trip back in 2011. The official, well aware that Chun was a member of the FBI, pursued the employee, convincing him to reveal well-kept secrets, according to prosecutors. Chun received a monetary reward for handing over the classified information.
Not only was Chun financially compensated, but he also received the red carpet treatment whenever he flew back to China. The government official provided the spy with prostitutes and trips overseas, according to prosecutors.
Chun had been given top secret security clearance and access to classified information, which made the whole thing nearly effortless for him. The Chinese official received information from Chun on “the identity and potential travel patterns of an FBI Special Agent” as well as an organizational chart of the FBI without names, the Justice Department claimed. Along with revealing classified information, Chun also sent photos of sensitive areas to the official.
“Between 2011 and 2016, on various occasions, I acted in the U.S. at the direction of a Chinese official,” Chun told the judge on Monday. “At the time, I knew that was wrong, and I am sorry for my actions.”
Chun has voiced deep regret for his actions taken against the country he has come to call home. Chun’s lawyer, federal defender Jonathan Marvinny has said, “The truth is that Mr. Chun loves the U.S. and never intended to cause it any harm. He hopes to put this matter behind him and move forward with his life.”
He faces at least two years in prison with a maximum sentence of 10 years. Chun is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2nd.
The “spy vs. spy” saga between the US and China has been escalated in recent years, with both countries trading accusations of clandestine attempts to steal sensitive information — from the arrest of an ex-NASA contractor to the conviction of two men for stealing Oreo’s precious recipe. Last year, the US charged six Chinese nationals with economic espionage. Meanwhile, to help catch agents operating inside its country, China has enlisted help from the masses with a nationwide hotline.
By Robin Winship