Zaosong Zheng, who was in the US on a visa sponsored by Harvard University, was arrested December 10 at Boston’s Logan Airport after attempting to leave the country with stolen materials from his lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The promising cancer researcher admitted he planned to take the eight stolen samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital in China, and publish the results under his own name without the authorization or knowledge of the lab.
Zheng was possibly acting on behalf of the Chinese government, the FBI said in an affidavit included in court documents. His arrest signified an escalation in the FBI’s efforts to root out scientists who are stealing research from American laboratories.
Zheng’s educational exchange visa has been revoked and he has been fired from Harvard-affiliated teaching hospital, Beth Israel.
Federal prosecutors stated that he may be charged with transporting stolen goods or with the theft of trade secrets, a felony count with up to 10 years imprisonment.