Two Chinese students from the University of Michigan were arrested after taking photos of a restricted US Navy base in Key West, Florida. The two students, Yuhao Wang and Jielun Zhang, are 24-year-old Chinese nationals. The arrests come amid rising concerns of Chinese-led spying operations in Florida, according to the Daily Mail.
The students were carrying cell phones and Nikon cameras when they were arrested and agreed to show the photos to the arresting officers. They were previously denied entry to the base because of a lack of military identification.
Both of the University of Michigan students are required to pay $7,500 for their legal defenses.
From the report:
An FBI affidavit says Wang and Zhang, both University of Michigan students, drove up to the Sigsbee Annex entrance and were told by a security officer they could not enter the property without military identification. The FBI says the pair drove onto the base anyway and were apprehended by authorities about 30 minutes later after taking photos of structures on the base. When U.S. Navy Security Forces located the students in their blue Hyundai car, they were carrying cellphones and a Nikon camera.
This is the third arrest at the naval base in recent weeks. On December 26, Chinese student Lyuyou Liao was arrested for entering the Truman Annex at the Naval Air Station to take photos. The 27-year-old is being held without bail. Investigators obtained a search warrant which found multiple photos from inside of the military base on his cellphone.
Just last year, Zhao Qianli was sentenced to one year in prison for photographing the Naval Air Station. The 20-year-old had photos and videos of government buildings and a Defense Department antenna field on the base.
Since 2018, four people have been arrested for attempting to enter and/or photographing the military base in Key West.