Three Chinese nationals sentenced to prison for photographing a government installation in Key West

Chinese national Liao Lyuyou, 27, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty in December to illegally entering a restricted area inside Key West Naval Air Station and taking photos and video, according to the U.S. South Florida Attorney’s Office.

In a separate case, Jielun Zhang, 25, and Yuhao Wang, 24, were sentenced to 12 and nine months in prison, respectively. Both pleaded guilty to illegally entering a restricted area within the same naval base as Liao. They were also photographed, according to the South Florida District Attorney’s Office.

Liao was arrested on Dec. 26 for entering a restricted area and photographing annexes and other government buildings near sensitive military facilities. He was verbally warned not to do so, but he did so anyway, according to court documents.

Liao bypassed the security fence with “numerous warnings” on it, the documents said, and continued to walk the restricted area and take photos after being “verbally warned by witnesses.” He later told officers he read and understood English better than he could speak it.

According to documents, Liao said he was trying to photograph the sunrise after he was approached by U.S. military police. He gave them permission to look at his camera where they saw footage of Truman’s contribution to the facility, as well as photographs of other government buildings in the area.

A week later, Jielun and Yuhao approached a guard station in a blue Hyundai on January 4 in the Sigsbee annex at Key West Naval Airport, according to a criminal report.

When Jielun and Yuhao were unable to provide military identification, a naval security officer told them to make a turn and exit the facility.

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Jielun and Yuhaog did not follow instructions and instead stayed in the building for about 30 minutes, the complaint said.

Naval security officers obtained consent to view cell phones and cameras in their possession and viewed photographs of the Sigsbee Annex estate, including U.S. military structures at Fleming Key.

The incidents came shortly after two Chinese embassy officials “secretly expelled” the United States last year after entering a “sensitive” military base near Norfolk, Virginia, The New York Times reported.
The Times said half-sixteen people familiar with the expulsions said U.S. officials believed “that at least one of the Chinese officials, who was with his wives, was an intelligence officer acting under diplomatic protection.”

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