Dickson Yeo

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Dickson Yeo
Dickson Yeo Jun Wei Singapore Spy.jpg
Born1981
EducationMaster of Arts (Southeast Asian Studies), Master of Arts (International Relations)
Alma materNational University of Singapore, International University of Japan

Dickson Yeo Jun Wei (born 1981) is a Singaporean academic researcher and policy analyst who pleaded guilty as an unidentified foreign agent for China on 24 July 2020.[1] He was reportedly recruited by Chinese intelligence in 2015 during an overseas stint in Beijing, China as a doctorate student.[2]

Background[edit | edit source]

Dickson Yeo was a visiting researcher at Peking University's National Institute of Strategic communication between June 2016 and January 2019.[3] From January 2019 to July 2019, he was a visiting scholar at the George Washington University in Washington DC.[1] According to a former senior diplomat, Barry Desker, Dickson Yeo had once tried to apply for jobs in Singapore government agencies.[4] However, he was unsuccessful in his attempts.

Education[edit | edit source]

Dickson Yeo was a student at National Junior College in Singapore. He then furthered his studies at Oklahoma City University where he graduated with a degree in mass communication and media studies.[5]

Post-graduate studies[edit | edit source]

Dickson Yeo received two Master of Arts degrees from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the International University of Japan where he was a student of Southeast Asian studies and international relations respectively.[5] He then pursued his doctoral studies in public policy at NUS in 2015.[6][7] While at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) in Singapore, Dickson Yeo’s academic supervisor was the Chinese-American academic, Huang Jing.[8] The latter was expelled from Singapore in 2017 for being an agent of influence.[9] LKYSPP confirmed that Dickson Yeo was granted a leave of absence from his studies sometime in 2019. Following his admission as a foreign agent in July 2020, LKYSPP revoked his candidature as a PhD student.[10]

Espionage[edit | edit source]

Dickson Yeo was recruited in Beijing, China in 2015 at an academic presentation about politics in Southeast Asia.[11] The Chinese recruiters introduced themselves as representatives of China-based think-tanks and offered him money in exchange for insider information and political reports.[12][13] While his tasks were first focused on Southeast Asia, they eventually shifted to the United States.[2]

Activities[edit | edit source]

According to court documents, Dickson Yeo "worked under the direction and control of People’s Republic of China (PRC) Chinese intelligence service (PRCIS) operatives over the past four to five years" to collect "valuable non-public information from the United States".[2] In 2018, he set up job listings for a fake consulting firm called Resolute Consulting of Singapore to collect sensitive information from US personnel.[1][3] He received over 400 resumes, the majority of which were from U.S. military and government personnel with high-level security clearances.[4] He then highlighted profiles of interest to his Chinese counterparts. The Washington Post confirmed that Dickson Yeo also used the networking website, LinkedIn to identify and recruit potential agents for his Chinese contacts.[1] Dickson Yeo has built working relationships with US individuals who worked in the Pentagon and the Department of State, among others. He paid these individuals to write reports on classified information.[2]

Arrest & conviction[edit | edit source]

Dickson Yeo was first arrested in November 2019 at an airport in the United States.[2][6] He had reportedly just returned from meeting with his counterparts in China.[2] On 24 July 2020, Dickson Yeo admitted to collecting sensitive US information for Chinese intelligence from 2015 to 2019. He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and deportation from the US after serving his time.[1] On 9 October 2020, Dickson Yeo was sentenced to serve 14 months in a US jail.[14]

References/ Citations[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Hsu, S Spencer. "Singaporean consultant pleads guilty to acting as agent for China, targeting Americans for intelligence recruitment". The Washington Post. July 25, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. "Singaporean National Pleads Guilty to Acting in the United States as an Illegal Agent of Chinese Intelligence". Justice.gov. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yong, Charissa. "Singaporean pleads guilty to spying for China in the US". The Straits Times. Accessed on 25 July 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Dickson Yeo's arrest puts spotlight on the shadowy world of spies". The Straits Times. August 2, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Yong, Charissa and Charmaine Ng. "Dickson Yeo’s PhD supervisor was expelled academic Huang Jing, says Bilahari Kausikan". The Straits Times. July 26, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yuen Sin. "Investigations into Dickson Yeo case have not revealed any direct threat to Singapore's security: MHA". The Straits Times. July 26, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  7. "How a Singaporean man went from NUS PhD student to working for Chinese intelligence in the US". Channel News Asia. July 25, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  8. Siow, Maria. "Chinese-American academic Huang Jing denies spy recruitment of Singaporean Jun Wei Yeo". South China Morning Post. July 27, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  9. Kurohi, Rei. "Ex-diplomat Bilahari Kausikan rebuts Huang Jing's denial that he recruited Singaporean Dickson Yeo as spy". The Straits Times. July 29, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  10. Ang Hwee Min. "Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy cancels Dickson Yeo's PhD candidature". Channel News Asia. July 26, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  11. "Arrest of Dickson Yeo: Investigations have not revealed any direct threat to Singapore's security, says MHA". Channel News Asia. July 26, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  12. "Dickson Yeo's arrest puts spotlight on the shadowy world of spies". The Straits Times. August 2, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  13. Ponniah, Kevin. "How a Chinese agent used LinkedIn to hunt for targets". BBC News. July 26, 2020. Accessed on 3 August 2020.
  14. "Singaporean Dickson Yeo jailed for 14 months in US for spying for China". Channel News Asia. October 10, 2020. Accessed on 12 October 2020.