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Chinese national imprisoned for cyberstalking, stealing identity of Minnesota college student

Federal prosecutors say the man used the victim’s name and image to solicit sex on dating and pornography websites. Strangers would show up at the victim's home expecting a sexual encounter.

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ST. PAUL — A Chinese national will serve five years in federal prison for cyberstalking a Minnesota college student and using her name and image to solicit sexual relationships on dating and pornography sites.

Ki Cheung Yau, 28, a citizen of China, was sentenced to serve 60 months in a U.S. federal prison after he was convicted of one count of cyberstalking and one count of identity fraud, the Department of Justice announced Dec. 19.

Federal prosecutors say that between January 2020 and November 2021, Yau created multiple online accounts on various social media and dating websites as well as pornography sites that used the name, photos and other personally identifiable information of a female Minnesota college student. After creating the accounts, Yau would impersonate the victim to communicate with strangers and pose as a young woman soliciting submissive or violent sexual relationships.

After communicating with strangers, Yau would attempt to help them find the victim in real life and carry out dominant and violent sexual encounters on the unsuspecting victim.

Court documents say that twice in January 2021, strangers who had communicated with Yau appeared at the victim’s residence and asked for her by name. Federal prosecutors say the strangers likely believed they had been communicating with the victim online and were unsuspecting that Yau was impersonating her.

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Yau’s cyberstalking also resulted in strangers directly messaging the victim in response to explicit accounts and posts made by Yau. The victim’s family and friends’ names, photos and contact information were also included in Yau’s stalking scheme. The victim was forced to move to a new residence and change her phone number.

After the St. Paul Police Department paired with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Yau was indicted on the federal charges. In June, Yau pleaded guilty to both counts, further admitting to having executed similar schemes involving seven additional victims across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

During his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said Yau’s actions were “predatory and purely evil,” showing “disregard for the safety and well-being of the victims and disregard for the law.” She sentenced Yau to the maximum sentence allowed under law.

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A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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