August 26, 2015


Tokyo Olympic Games

HOUSTON–Did the Chinese government outfox the FBI? In a recent article, published in the World Affairs Journal, GORDON CHANG said the Chinese government had launched a new initiative, dubbed “Fox Hunt” to send Chinese law enforcement officers to foreign countries, including the United States to apprehend fugitives from China.  The article said the Obama administration filed an official protest with the Chinese government about its law enforcement officers conducting “illegal” criminal investigations within U.S. territory.[1]

Various news organizations, including the New York Times,[2] The Guardian,[3] and CNN[4] published reports on the same topic, just days before the post appeared in the World Affairs Journal.

CHANG’s post also discussed other prior incidents during which Chinese agents operated illegally in the United States.  In reference to these incidents, he said it was “unknown whether Washington … complained, but those activities continued … suggesting … official American tolerance.”

Unbeknownst to CHANG, at least one other country also enjoyed American tolerance.  Before his retirement,[5] member EDWARD SHAW completed two assignments,[6] at the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office, in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.[7]  During his second assignment,[8] he discovered Japanese police also conducted “unauthorized” criminal investigative activity in the United States. Not as egregious as the reported Chinese “Fox Hunt,” the Japanese activity was clearly not permitted and the author reported it to his FBI superiors.  FBI executives at FBIHQ dismissed the author’s report of “unauthorized” police activity by Japanese officials.  Told about the violations, one FBI executive, in the International Operations’ Division, suggested the author take a more conciliatory approach.  He recommended encouraging the Japanese to follow US rules for conducting criminal investigations, suggesting he use “honey.”  The honey envisioned was an offer to conduct investigations in the U.S without any reciprocal assistance for Bureau investigations in Japan.

The Japanese incident took place during the same time, as the “Fox Hunt,” and the other “illegal” Chinese investigations mentioned in the World Affairs Journal.  The FBI executives who oversaw relations in Japan also oversaw Bureau relations in China.  Rather than seek expulsion for these Chinese officials, the author thinks these same Bureau officials again tried “honey,” in a similar misguided counter-productive effort to stop the investigations, as when he was in Japan.

Remarkably, the New York Times article said it was “unclear whether the F.B.I. or the Department of Homeland Security … advocated … to have … the Chinese agents expelled.”  Seeing the hand wringing previously exhibited by Bureau executives with regards to the Japanese overreach by police officials, the author thinks the FBI sent mixed signals to the Chinese government when officials discovered Chinese agents operating illegally in the US; hence, the foregoing begs the question: did the FBI unknowingly invite the Chinese fox into the American hen house?

About the Author:

EDWARD SHAW is the Sales and Marketing Director of HEXICURITY, Inc. the maker of a product that enhances the functionality of electronic card key systems.  In addition to his two assignments with the FBI’s Legal Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, he lived in Japan and worked for two Japanese companies before becoming a Special Agent with the FBI.  SHAW speaks fluent Japanese and has many years of experience working with Japanese law enforcement, government, and business organizations.


[1] Article written by GORDON CHANG captioned, “Obama Toughens Stance Against China’s Fox Hunt,” published in the WORLD AFFAIRS JOURNAL, dated August 20, 2015.

[2] Article written by MARK MAZZETTI and DAN LEVIN captioned, “Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in US, published in New York Times, dated August 16, 2015.

[3] Article written by TOM PHILLIPS captioned, “China Lashes Out at US After Claims Beijing Is Deploying ‘Covert Agents’,” published in The Guardian, dated August 16, 2015.

[4] Article written by JIM SCIUTTO and RALPH ELLIS captioned, “US Warns China to Stop Pressing Expatriates to Return Home,” dated August 17, 2015.

[5] In 2014.

[6] Five years during 1999-2004 and three years in 2009-2012.

[7] The FBI’s LEGAT Office headed by the Legal Attaché.

[8] Period 2009 thru 2012.