The arrest of former CIA officer suspected of spying for China has made headlines in international media. The Value has learnt from a reliable source that he worked as a security manager at Christie's Hong Kong. We have identified the man as the well-built security guy shown on our exclusive photo below.
Collectors and journalists may recognize him if they have visited Christie's Hong Kong office before. As far as I remember, the security manager is a well-built man and he seems friendly and amiable during our visits or at auctions. He always responded with politeness whenever he saw anyone not following rules.
Jerry Chun Shing Lee (aka Zheng Cheng LI), a former CIA officer, was arrested at Kennedy Airport in New York on 15 January, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday. He is charged with unlawful retention of classified information and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted.
Lee, 53, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is currently residing in Hong Kong. According to court documents, Lee served in the United States Army from 1982 to 1986. After that he went to Hawaii Pacific University, where he graduated in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in international business management and in 1993 got a master’s degree in human resource management.
He joined the CIA as a case officer in 1994, maintained a Top Secret clearance and signed numerous non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at CIA. He left CIA in 2007. Reported by The New York Times, he had previously returned to the United States in 2012, when FBI began the investigation. Lee is living in Hong Kong and working for a well-known auction house (Christie's Hong Kong, according to The Value's source).
Two years before the FBI investigation, more than a dozen CIA informants were killed or imprisoned by the Chinese government, leading to one of the most disastrous failures of US intelligence in recent years.
It is still uncertain why Lee decided to go back to the United States if he was spying for China and being the target in the investigation. Did he return for his own reason or did he make an agreement with CIA and FBI? Did he retain any classified information from the auction house he worked for during his time at Christie's Hong Kong?
These are all mysteries to be unravelled.