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Tanzanian Detained at Russia-China Border While Posing as 'American Hacker'

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A citizen of Tanzania posing as an "American hacker" was detained by Russian border guards after attempting to illegally enter the country from China.

The 26-year-old man was fleeing from Chinese prosecutors attempting to arrest him for violating migration rules, the RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing sources in the security services. He was captured 16 minutes after crossing the Russian border.

“The young man did not enter our country like all law-abiding citizens, using valid documents at a proper entry point, but by crossing fencing at the Russia-Chinese border under the cover of darkness,” a regional representative of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which controls border security, told RIA Novosti. 

He was detained using a video locator and a service dog named Zhom, the representative added.

Initially the Tanzanian national told border guards that he was an American citizen working in the IT-sector. Later he changed his story and said he was born in the United States and worked as a professional hacker, breaking into U.S. government websites and carrying out commercial espionage.

However, the U.S. Embassy in Russia informed the FSB that the man was not a U.S. citizen. Additionally, the detainee's Tanzanian passport appeared to be real. Russian authorities are currently investigating the matter.

If found guilty of illegally crossing the border, the man faces a fine of 200 thousand rubles (roughly $3,300), two years in prison or two years of compulsory labor.

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