Alexander Yuk Ching Ma
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma is best known as the former CIA officer who was born in Hong Kong. Ma has reportedly been accused of selling sensitive defense secrets to the Chinese government over a decade in an espionage case revealed in Hawaii on Monday.
According to court documents, Ma started working for the CIA in 1982 and maintained a top-secret clearance.
The 67-year-old also signed various nondisclosure agreements, in which he acknowledged his duty to protect government secrets during his time at the CIA.
He left the agency in 1989 to live and work in Shanghai, China, before moving to Hawaii in 2001.
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma Accused of Espionage
A naturalized US citizen allegedly transferred over information about the CIA’s personnel and tradecraft to Chinese intelligence for receiving tens of thousands of dollars in return.
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, however, told an FBI agent posing as a Chinese intelligence officer earlier this month that he wanted “the motherland” to succeed, according to court documents
The Justice Department claims court documents show Ma and his relative conspired with each other and multiple Chinese intelligence officials to transfer classified national defense information for almost a decade.
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma Espionage History
The espionage started with a series of meetings in Hong Kong back in March 2001.
Ma and his mate provided information to the foreign intelligence service “about the CIA’s personnel, operations, and methods of concealing communications”, the DOJ said.
Some of his captured meetings showed Ma counting $50,000 he received for delivering the intel.
The court documents also accused Ma of seeking employment with the FBI to continue his intel-for-cash scheme. He succeeded and was hired by Bureau in 2004 at its Honolulu Field Office.
While working as a contract linguist, Ma was in charge of reviewing and translating Chinese language documents. Over the next six years, Ma would copy, photograph, and steal documents marked “SECRET”.
He was given thousands of dollars in cash and expensive gifts for materials and images he took with himself to China, to show to his handlers.
Alexander Yuk Ching Ma Under Investigation
In 2019, Ma pleaded guilty to his espionage activities to an FBI undercover employee. He thought the agent was a representative of the PRC intelligence service and accepted $2,000 in cash from him.
He was arrested Friday on charges over the conspiracy of sending top-secret classified information to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
He is scheduled to make his first appearance before a federal judge on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. He could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.