A Queens woman who worked for Air China at John F. Kennedy Airport pleaded guilty Wednesday to acting on behalf of the Chinese government by placing unscreened packages on a flight from New York to Beijing.
Ying Lin, who also goes by Randi or Randy, was working at the direction of Chinese military personnel stationed at China’s permanent mission to the United Nations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Lin, a naturalized U.S. citizen, worked for Air China from 2002 through fall 2015 at JFK and then at Newark Liberty International Airport through April 2016. She could face up to 10 years’ imprisonment when sentenced.
“This case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business here to engage in illegal activity,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a statement. “Covertly doing the Chinese military’s bidding on U.S. soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate U.S. government oversight.”
It is not known what was in the packages sent to Beijing.
In exchange for her help, the Chinese government provided her tax-exempt purchases of discounted liquor and electronics available only to diplomats and free contracting work at her residence, according to court documents.
“Ms. Lin was secreting packages through some of the country’s busiest airports, using her work with the Chinese government to thwart our security measures,” said William F. Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “We believe this case isn’t unique and hope it serves as an example that the Chinese and other foreign governments can’t break our laws with impunity.”