Oct 28th, 2008
The Justice Department has charged three men with allegedly conspiring to export carbon-fiber material to the Chinese agency that builds satellites and spacecraft.
The government says the indictment, returned in federal court in Minnesota, underscores the rise in illegal exports of weapons, military equipment and national security technology to China and Iran. For the past two years, Iran was the top destination for restricted U.S. technology, the Associated Press says.
Of 145 people or companies charged with illegally exporting restricted technology last year, 43% were shipping to Iran and China. Of those, 74 involved Iran and 23 China. More than 60 defendants were charged with illegal exports to Mexico, mostly weapons.
This year has seen a 30% increase in violations.
"Keeping U.S. weapons technology and other restricted materials from falling into the wrong hands — and from being used against our allies, our troops overseas or Americans at home — is a top counterintelligence priority," Assistant Attorney General Pat Rowan said in a statement. Read it here.
Today's indictment charged Jian Wei Ding, Kok Tong Lim and Ping Cheng with seeking to send carbon-fiber to the China Academy of Space Technology. Besides spacecraft and rockets, carbon fiber is also used to enrich uranium.
Jian Wei Ding and Kok Tong Lim are residents of Singapore and affiliated with a Singaporean import/export company known as FirmSpace, Pte Ltd. Ping Cheng is a resident of New York and the sole shareholder of Prime Technology Corporation.