Chinese woman charged with trying to bribe US customs officer with sex

Hong Yang, 55, had attempted to bribe the officer after arriving at JFK International Airport.
Hong Yang, 55, had attempted to bribe the officer after arriving at JFK International Airport. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A Chinese woman was charged in a Brooklyn Court on Monday (Dec 7) for offering to have sex with a US Customs and Border Protection officer if he would allow her daughter to bring undeclared goods into the country.

The incident took place in July and Hong Yang, 55, was arrested for the customs fraud last weekend by agents from the US Department of Homeland Security.

On Monday, the court heard that Hong had made several attempts to bribe the officer at New York's JFK International Airport after he discovered that her daughter - a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan - was in possession of wristwatches, a fur coat and diamond jewellery worth US$160,000 (S$224,540).

The duo, along with Hong's sister, had arrived on an Air France flight from Paris.

Hong, who lives in China, initially handed the officer a written note with her nickname and telephone number, reported the New York Daily News. She then allegedly offered him US$10,000 and a wristwatch if he would turn a blind eye and allow them through.

After excusing himself briefly to don a hidden recording device, he returned - only to find that Hong, a divorcee, had a different offer for him.

This time, she offered to "sleep with him" and take him to China.

Hong was not detained at the airport and was allowed to leave, defence lawyer Robert Gottlieb said.

She was subsequently arrested last weekend when she was boarding a flight home to China, and charged in court on Monday.

 

She is currently out on a US$250,000 bail and is staying in her daughter's Manhattan apartment.

The behaviour of travellers from China has come under the spotlight in recent weeks.

Last week, an elderly woman was fined by a Hong Kong court for stealing a life jacket from a Cathay Pacific plane.

On Tuesday (Dec 8), a drunk Chinese professor from Pennsylvania State University had to be ejected from a New York-bound United Airlines flight after he was refused an upgrade to first-class.