A resident of the People's Republic of China has been convicted in San Diego, California, after a four-year investigation and prosecution on charges stemming from his efforts to find equipment to monitor U.S. government and military communications.
Chi Tong Kuok, a PRC citizen, was found guilty by a federal jury late Tuesday of conspiracy to export defense equipment, money laundering, and smuggling, federal authorities said.
The U.S. attorney in San Diego said Kuok had tried to illegally obtain for China sophisticated communications gear, encryption devices and GPS system equipment used by the U.S. and NATO militaries.
Kuok was arrested April 29, 2009, at the Atlanta airport where he was catching a connecting flight to Panama from Paris, France. Customs officials had been posing as undercover agents, negotiating with Kuok for more than two years for sale of the equipment.
Kuok initially admitted that he was working at the direction of Chinese authorities, U.S. officials said, but he fought the charges after he was sent to California and charged.
"This conviction underscores the threat posed by illicit efforts to obtain sensitive U.S. technology and the need for continued vigilance against such schemes," said Assistant Attorney General David Kris.
The court set August 23 as the sentencing date for Kuok. The maximum sentences for all the charges would total 45 years, according to federal authorities.