Washington, Jul 24 (EFE).- A Chinese investigator who sought refuge at her country’s consulate in San Francisco was detained by United States authorities, sources from the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on Friday, which now number four scientists arrested for alleged fraud in their visa application.
Juan Tang, who, according to the Department of Justice, remained a refugee at the diplomatic headquarters, appears in “custody” in the records of the Sheriff’s Department of Sacramento County, the capital of the state of California.
The police record detailed that she was arrested by the United States Marshals Corps and remains in the Sacramento County Main Jail.
Local media quoted statements from DOJ officials that confirmed the arrest, which took place Thursday night, without elaborating on how it unfolded.
In a brief statement released Friday, the DOJ noted that the former University of California investigator was placed in federal custody “recently” by the FBI and that her first appearance will be next Monday.
Already on Thursday, the Justice Department had detailed that Juan Tang arrived in the United States in December 2019 and in his visa application denied having served in the Army.
“The FBI found a photograph of Tang in a military uniform” and references to his employment with the Air Force’s Military Medical Unit, the official document said.
Three other Chinese investigators have been detained in recent weeks on charges of visa fraud “in connection with a plan to lie about their membership in the People’s Republic of China Military Forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), while conducting research in the United States.”
The arrests came after the government of US President Donald Trump forced China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas amid new espionage charges.
In response, Beijing demanded that Washington close its consulate in the city of Chengdu, in one of the worst political crises since the two countries established relations in 1979.
The DOJ information identified one of the accused as Xin Wang, who entered the country on March 26, 2019 and was arrested on June 7; while the other two detainees, on July 18 and without specifying the place, are Chen Song and Kai Jai Zhao.
If convicted, they can face a penalty of 10 years in prison each and a fine of $250,000. EFE -EPA