New York: A US woman who worked for Air China at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport here has pleaded guilty to acting on behalf of the Chinese government by placing unscreened packages on a flight from New York to Beijing.

Ying Lin was working at the direction of Chinese military personnel stationed at Beijing's permanent mission to the UN, the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York said on Wednesday.

Lin, a naturalised US citizen, worked for Air China from 2002 till 2015 at JFK and then at Newark Liberty International Airport through April 2016. She could face up to 10 years' imprisonment when sentenced, The Washington Post reported.

"This case is a stark example of the Chinese government using the employees of Chinese companies doing business here to engage in illegal activity," Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a statement.

"Covertly doing the Chinese military's bidding on US soil is a crime, and Lin and the Chinese military took advantage of a commercial enterprise to evade legitimate US government oversight."

It is not known what was in the packages sent to Beijing. In exchange for her help, the Chinese government provided her tax-exempt purchases of discounted liquor and electronics available only to diplomats and free contracting work at her residence, according to court documents.

"Lin was secreting packages through some of the country's busiest airports, using her work with the Chinese government to thwart our security measures," said William F. Sweeney, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office.

"We believe this case isn't unique and hope it serves as an example that the Chinese and other foreign governments can't break our laws with impunity." (IANS)

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