TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Chinese Immigrants Charged in Data Theft/Spy Case

Chinese Immigrants Charged in Data Theft/Spy Case

Jeremiah Marquez (
Tue, 15 Nov 2005 21:14:58 -0600

By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, Associated Press Writer

A Chinese-American engineer and two family members who allegedly
conspired to steal sensitive information about Navy warships and
smuggle it to China were indicted Tuesday on federal charges,
authorities said.

The grand jury indictment charges Chi Mak, 65, his wife and brother
with acting as agents of a foreign government without prior
notification to the U.S. attorney general, according to the
U.S. attorney's office.

Federal officials said Mak took computer disks from Anaheim defense
contractor Power Paragon, where he was lead engineer on a sensitive
research project involving propulsion systems for Navy warships.

He and his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, 62, then copied the information
to CDs and delivered them to Tai Wang Mak, 56, who was scheduled to
fly to Hong Kong on Oct. 28 with his wife, Fuk Heung Li, an FBI
affidavit said.

From there, the brother allegedly planned to travel to Guangzhou, China, to
meet a contact.

Ronald Kaye, Chi Mak's attorney, said he had not yet seen the
indictment, but noted his client was presumed innocent. His brother's
attorney, John Early, had no immediate comment.

Chiu's attorney, Stanley Greenberg, said she was a loyal American
citizen and suggested the charges might be trumped up.

"In recent years the government has brought similar charges but when
called to proof, those cases resulted in little or nothing," Greenberg
said. "I believe this case will follow that same pattern."

All four suspects were arrested on Oct. 28. Though Li was accused in
an FBI affidavit of aiding the others, she was not indicted Tuesday.

Chi Mak and his wife are naturalized U.S. citizens originally from
China. Mak's brother is a Chinese national and director for the
Phoenix North American Chinese Channel. The brother's wife also is a
Chinese national.

Although it is not alleged in the indictment, authorities have said
they recovered restricted documents on the DDX Destroyer -- known as
the "destroyer of the future" -- that had been produced by the Naval
Surface Warfare Center, and that Chinese officials were eager to
examine these documents.

Also seized were documents on how to reconfigure a damaged ship after
an attack, as well as two lists in Chinese that asked Chi Mak to get
documents dealing with submarine torpedoes, electromagnetic artillery,
early warning technology to detect incoming missiles and defenses
against nuclear attack, prosecutors said.

The case comes as China -- mindful of U.S. support for Taiwan -- is
seeking to strengthen its naval capabilities so it can function in the
open sea as opposed to hugging shallow coastal waters, prosecutors
have said.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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