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A Chinese student linked to Beijing’s Public Security Ministry was sentenced to prison last week for spying on sensitive communications gear at a major military base in Key West, Florida.
Zhao Qianli, a Chinese national who told the FBI he was a music student visiting Florida as a tourist, was arrested by military police Sept. 26 after taking pictures and video at Naval Air Station Key West. He had waded into the surf along a beach at the base to get around a security fence, according to court papers.
Once inside the fence, Zhou began taking images of communications antennas and equipment at a site called an “antenna farm”—sensitive equipment used by the military, anti-drug, and intelligence agencies at the base.
The article goes on to state the following:
Zhao spoke fluent English and carried no identification at the time of his arrest, a sign he was operating covertly and prepared to be detained. He told MPs who confronted him that he was a tourist who was lost and had strayed on the base by accident.
Investigators also discovered Zhao was in touch with Chinese intelligence officers inside the United States before the base intrusion.
Under questioning by the FBI, Zhao disclosed he was the son of a high-ranking PLA officer and that his mother worked for the Chinese government.
Chinese National Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Photography of U.S. Naval Installation in Key West, Florida: A P… https://t.co/b4znqiCmVK
— FBI Miami (@FBIMiamiFL) February 7, 2019
Judge sentences a Chinese national for taking unauthorized photos on a military base to supervised release. How is that possible considering his visa expired? https://t.co/8I3sZj7LJu
— Michael Gordon, JD 🇺🇸 (@michaelsgordon) February 6, 2019
A 21-year-old Chinese national was sentenced to a year in prison today—the statutory maximum term—after pleading guilty to illegally photographing a U.S. naval base in Key West. pic.twitter.com/1P3R6X5tHh
— Ryan Barber (@cryanbarber) February 5, 2019
Zhao Qianli initially told federal authorities that he lost his way on a tourist trail while visiting the island of Key West and did not realize he had wandered onto Naval Air Station Key West. https://t.co/EVab5UElQQ
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) February 6, 2019
— Matthew Continetti (@continetti) February 11, 2019
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