Airline employee worked as agent for China at US airport

WASHINGTON • A woman who worked for Air China at John F. Kennedy Airport pleaded guilty on Wednesday to acting on behalf of the Chinese government by placing unscreened packages on a flight from New York to Beijing.

Ying Lin, who is from Queens and also goes by the name 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 US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Lin, a naturalised US citizen, worked for Air China from 2002 to 2015 at JFK and then at Newark Liberty International Airport up till April 2016.

In exchange for her help, the Chinese government provided her with tax-exempt purchases of discounted liquor and electronics available only to diplomats, according to court documents, as well as free contracting work at her residence.

"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 Demers said in a statement. "Covertly doing the Chinese military's bidding on US soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate US government oversight."

It is not known what was in the packages sent to Beijing.

Lin could face up to 10 years' imprisonment when sentenced.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'Airline employee worked as agent for China at US airport'. Print Edition | Subscribe