Four admit illegal sale of electronics gear to China
By JEFFREY GOLD
Associated Press Writer
NEWARK, N.J. -- Four people who operated an electronics firm in southern New Jersey pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating export regulations by shipping nearly $400,000 of electronics that could be used for military purposes to entities controlled by the Chinese government.
The case involving Manten Electronics Inc. is the latest, but far from the largest, to deal with illegal technology and arms exports to China.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it has seen a dramatic increase in the shipment of sensitive technology and weapons components to China. Since January 2000, the agency has launched more than 400 investigations into illegal technology and arms exports to China.
The four people at Manten, as well as four people at Universal Technologies Inc. in Mount Laurel, were arrested in July 2004 following an 18-month investigation by ICE, the FBI and the U.S. Commerce Department.
Prosecutors have reached plea deals with the Universal defendants but the agreements have not yet been formalized, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith H. Germano said.
Among the restricted items Manten obtained were monolithic microwave integrated circuits, an electronics component used in a variety of weapons systems and found on U.S. bombers, fighter aircraft, military helicopters, missiles and satellites, according to court papers.
In court Tuesday, Manten president Xu Weibo and his three co-defendants each pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring to violate export laws, admitting that they sent restricted items at the request at least two Chinese agencies, the 20th and 41st Research Institutes. They admitted they lied to U.S. distributors and on shipping documents to conceal the nature of the shipments. The conspiracy charge carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice any profit.
The two Chinese agencies are part of the Ministry of Information Industry and develop military and civilian communications technology, according to court papers. Specialties of the 20th include aircraft landing systems and military radio-navigation technology. Work at the 41st includes military amplifiers and testing devices for military instruments.
The Commerce Department in May 2001 said the 20th Research Institute "poses an unacceptable risk in the development of weapons of mass destruction or the missiles used to deliver weapons of mass destruction," according to court papers.
Weibo, 38, also pleaded guilty to violating the Export Administration Act, which carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or five times the value of the export or twice any profit; and a count of violating the Arms Export Control Act, which carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million or five times the value of the export or twice any profit.
Also pleading guilty was his wife, purchasing agent Xiu Ling Chen, also known as Linda, 33, of Mount Laurel; her brother, vice president Hao Li Chen, known as Ali, 29, of Mount Laurel; and his wife, controller Kwan Chun Chan, known as Jenny, 29, of Mount Laurel.
The four agreed to forfeit $391,337, which Germano said represented the revenue from illegal sales made from June 2002 until Manten was closed with the arrests in July 2004.
All four are naturalized U.S. citizens from China. The women used a translator to follow court proceedings, but answered in English when questioned by U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. They remain free on bail pending sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 6.
On the Net: U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark:
Another Article from the Phillidelphia Inquirer
4 admit exporting technology to China
Circuits with military uses netted nearly $400,000. Sentencing is Feb. 6.
By Troy Graham
Inquirer Staff Writer
Four naturalized U.S. citizens pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Newark, N.J., to exporting defense technology from their Mount Laurel electronics company to China.
The four Manten Electronics officers made 15 shipments of sensitive technology to two Chinese research institutes between January 2003 and April 2004, netting nearly $400,000.
Company president Xu Weibo, 38, also known as Kevin Xu, pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy and violating export laws. Pleading guilty to a count of conspiracy each were Xu's wife, Xiu Ling Chen, 34, the company's purchasing agent; her brother, Hao Li Chen, 29, the company's vice president; and his wife, Kwan Chun Chan, 29, company controller.
Each export violation carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and the conspiracy charge carries a maximum of five years in prison. Sentencing for the four Mount Laurel residents was set for Feb. 6.
Prosecutors said a Chinese agent had faxed Xu in 2003, requesting "military grade" monolithic microwave integrated circuits. The circuits have a civilian use but also are used in military radar, smart bombs, missiles, satellites, and other military equipment.
Xu was accused of getting the circuits from an Idaho firm and falsifying shipping labels to illegally export them to research institutes controlled by the Chinese government.
The U.S. government has identified one of those institutes as "posing an unacceptable risk in the development of weapons of mass destruction or missiles used to deliver weapons of mass destruction."
The four defendants were indicted in July 2004 along with three people from Cherry Hill and Voorhees who worked for another company, Universal Technologies. The Universal defendants were charged with exporting technology that included memory chips and digital-to-analog converters used on stealth-equipped aircraft.
Plea deals with the Universal defendants have not been formalized, Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith H. Germano said.
U.S. officials and defense analysts have said China has been using pilfered U.S. technology to modernize its military for several years. Since the beginning of 2000, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has launched 400 investigations into illegal technology and arms exports to China.
Well damn it, I want an illegal DVD player FROM China that will let me skip past that stupid FBI warning and also play DVDs from all regions.
Manten Electronics - that was Klinton and Gored's dummy corp, right?
Because it's easier and cheaper to buy it and reverse engineer it.
ETA: Traitors and spies... They should be prosecuted accordingly.