San Francisco man accused of being agent for China held without bail

(Reuters) - A San Francisco tour guide charged with being an undercover agent of the Chinese government was ordered held without bail on Tuesday after a federal magistrate judge found that he presented a potential flight risk.

Xuehua Peng, also known as Edward Peng, was ordered during a detention hearing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco to return on Oct. 15 for further proceedings, the U.S. attorney's office said.

He did not enter a plea during the brief hearing.

The 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen was arrested in the San Francisco suburb of Hayward, California, last week. He appeared in court wearing red jail garb.

A federal court indictment accused him of picking up U.S. national security secrets from so called "dead drops" in exchange for envelopes of cash and delivering them to the Ministry of State Security in Beijing.

Peng, who works as a sight-seeing tour operator for Chinese tourists in the Bay Area, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, prosecutors said.


(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Darren Schuettler)