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US Navy sailor Wenheng Zhao admits taking bribe, sharing military data with China

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US Navy sailor Wenheng Zhao admits taking bribe, sharing military data with China

A US Navy sailor pleaded guilty on Tuesday to accepting nearly US$15,000 in bribes from a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for photographs of unclassified private US military information, according to court papers.

Petty Officer Wenheng “Thomas” Zhao, 26, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and receiving a bribe, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

Zhao admitted sending his Chinese handler plans for US military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region, operational orders and electrical diagrams and blueprints for a radar system on a US military base in Okinawa, Japan, according to court documents and US officials.

He was arrested in August.

Zhao, who worked at Naval Base Ventura County in California, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the charges, but a judge will determine his final sentence.

A lawyer representing Zhao did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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US Attorney Martin Estrada of the Central District of California said Zhao “betrayed his country and the men and women of the US Navy by accepting bribes from a foreign adversary”.

The United States has accused China of an extensive campaign of espionage and cyberattacks, a charge that Beijing has rejected.

Article was originally published from here

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