US officials said that the FBI has been investigating the Chinese Consulate in Houston over espionage concerns, NBC News reported.
The US government ordered the consulate to close earlier this week and gave it until Friday to do so.
There were reports of people burning papers not long after the order was given.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The Chinese Consulate in Houston that on Wednesday the US government ordered to close was being investigated by the FBI over allegations of spying, NBC News reported, citing multiple sources.
US officials told NBC News that the consulate has a history of being used to steal valuable medical research as well as attempts to get into the natural gas and oil industries, and said that President Donald Trump was briefed on the suspected spying soon after he took office.
Business Insider previously reported that the US government ordered the consulate to shut down; it has until 4 p.m. local time on Friday to close.
The decision prompted people to burn papers in the consulate’s courtyard, according to reports. Police and firefighters who responded to the scene were not allowed on the premises.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell said the closure was “long overdue.” Stilwell said the consulate had ramped up its spying and stealing of medical research, as well as visa fraud when the pandemic began.
Stilwell also told The New York Times, that the top Chinese official and two other diplomats at the consulate were alleged to have used fake IDs to escort Chinese travelers to the gate area of a charter flight at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
“It’s always possible,” Trump said on Wednesday when asked if other Chinese consulates would close. “You see what’s going on. We thought …read more
Source:: Business Insider