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Ex-Air China worker charged by US for smuggling for Chinese military
[NEW YORK] A former Air China Ltd employee was indicted on Wednesday for smuggling packages on flights from New York to China on behalf of Chinese military personnel stationed at the country's UN mission, US prosecutors said.
Ying Lin, 46, was also accused in a revised indictment filed in Brooklyn of obstructing justice by instructing a Chinese national under investigation by the FBI to flee the country immediately and by arranging for his flight in October 2015.
The indictment did not name the Chinese national, but his description matches that of Qin Fei of Beijing, who the Federal Bureau of Investigation has suspected may be involved with Chinese foreign intelligence, according to other court records.
Mr Qin's connection to Ms Lin was revealed recently following the filing in court of the FBI's interview last year of Ng Lap Seng, a Macau billionaire accused of participating in a bribery scheme at the United Nations and who was also previously linked to Ms Lin.
Lawyers for Ms Lin and Mr Qin did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Mr Ng declined comment. A spokeswoman for Air China did not respond to a request for comment.
Ms Lin, a resident of New York City's Queens borough, was previously arrested in August 2015 and charged for structuring bank deposits to evade reporting requirements. She pleaded not guilty.
The latest indictment accused Ms Lin in her prior role as a counter agent for Air China at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport of smuggling packages from Chinese military officers and others at its consulate onto flights.
In return, Ms Lin received various benefits including discounted liquor purchased from diplomatic duty-free and tax-exempt purchases of electronic devices from Apple Inc retail outlets, the indictment said.