Three Chinese nationals were sentenced to prison for entering a restricted area at this naval base in Key West, Florida.

Three West Chinese nationals have been jailed for taking pictures of government institutions in Key West

Leo Liu, 227, a Chinese national, has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to illegally entering a confined space between Naval Air Station Key West and taking pictures and videos in December, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida.

In a separate case, 25-year-old Jielun Zhang and 24-year-old Yuho Wang were sentenced to 12 months and nine months in prison, respectively. Both men pleaded guilty to illegally entering a limited area within the same naval base as Liao. They were also taking pictures, according to the Florida Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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

Documents say Liao blocked a security fence with “posting numerous warnings”, and “continued to walk and take photos in confined spaces” after eyewitnesses verbally warned him. He later told officials that he read and understood better than he could speak English.

According to documents, Liao said he was trying to take pictures of the sunrise after U.S. military police approached him. He allowed them to view his camera where they conveniently viewed images of Truman Annex as well as other government buildings in the area.

One week later, Jialun and Yuhao arrived at the Sigsby Annexe guard station at the Naval Air Station in Key West on January 4 in a West Blue Hyundai, according to criminal charges.

When Zielun and Yuhao could not provide military identities, a Navy security officer asked them to make a U-turn and exit the facility.

Zielun and Yuhag did not follow the instructions and instead stayed at that facility for about 30 minutes, the complaint said.

Navy security officers agreed to view the cellphone and camera in their possession and viewed images of the Sigsby Annex property, including the U.S. military structure, at Fleming Key.

The New York Times reports that two U.S. embassy officials were “secretly” expelled last year after entering a “sensitive” military base near Norfolk, Virginia.
According to the Times, half a dozen people with knowledge of the expulsion said U.S. officials believed “at least one Chinese official who was with their wives was an intelligence officer working as a diplomatic officer.”

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