Chinese citizen sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for plot to buy US


A Chinese citizen was sentenced to 3½ years in prison on Friday as part of US authorities’ plan to illegally export inflatable military boats used by special operations commandos. China.

Ge Songtao, 51, from Nanjing Chinapleaded guilty to conspiracy charges to submit false export information to the federal government in federal court in Florida last fall. Analysts said the case reveals how China‘s army passed through Hong Kong to pick up the embargoed goods.

US District Judge Harvey Schlesinger said in a hearing in Jacksonville federal court that GE plans to reverse engineer custom military-grade engines and sell a knock-out version to the Beijing military. The boats were described in court as “sea raid ships”.

According to court documents related to the case, Ge and a partner, Yang Yang, worked for a Shanghai company that wanted to purchase seven inflatable boats equipped with engines that could run on gasoline, diesel or jet fuel. Boats are designed to secretly send special operations commandos from submarines or aircraft and are not available on submarines. China.

China has been developing its military forces for the past few decades, with a focus on developing elite commando units.

Ms. Yang, who is also a defendant in the case, said: US manufacturer the buyer of the boats was originally a Hong Kong company. Shanghai company According to prosecutors, the enterprise was a buyer.

Ge’s role in the program included wire transfers of approximately $115,000 to an unnamed US manufacturer, using two Hong Kong firms as a deduction. Ge also made arrangements for an employee to travel to Hong Kong to accept boats and engines and arrange shipment to the mainland.

The court decided that Ge would lose the money he transferred. California based company.

Hong Kong faced laxer export controls than the mainland until recently China, where all US military exports are banned. In December, the Department of Commerce changed the former British colony’s trading status to the same export control restrictions used for the rest. China.

Special fees associated with submitting false documents to the Automated Export System, a federal interagency system used to export products from the United States.

The judge said that after charges were brought in the case, Ge tried to circumvent the prosecution in various ways, including asking for help from a partner in the case. China producing false documents about the deal.

“The illegal export of sensitive technology poses a clear and significant threat to our national security,” said Special Agent Brian Dugan for the FBI’s Norfolk Division. “This case proves that the FBI and our law enforcement partners are fully committed to preventing the theft of vital technology, no matter how tough the job.”

Yang was already sentenced to 14 months in prison, and a second defendant, Zheng Fan, received a similar sentence.

The fourth defendant in the case, Fan Yang, a Chinese-born navy officer with a top-secret security clearance, awaits trial next month. Mr. Fan is married to Yang Yang and has been assigned to the Marine Patrol Reconnaissance Weapons School at the Jacksonville Naval Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Florida, according to a criminal complaint.

The case was disclosed by an undercover FBI source and former Navy official.

Ge, Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd. and tried to buy the boat and engines in 2018.

“These ships and multi-fuel engines are used by the U.S. military and can be operated after being launched from a submerged submarine or dropped into the ocean by an airplane,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to prosecutors, Yang was told to buy cheaper single-fuel engines, but insisted on multi-fuel engines. In an attempt to persuade the manufacturer to sell the multi-fuel engines, Yang claimed that the end user was United Vision Limited, a Hong Kong-based company.

Ge, a third Hong Kong company, Belt Consulting Co. to purchase the engines. Ltd. and then transferred the funds to the US manufacturer.

“The plan failed and authorities arrested Ge Songtao and his other defendants before their raiding ships and engines were sent overseas,” the statement said.

“This sentence should serve as a warning that NCIS and our law enforcement partners are determined to root out any criminal attempt to compromise our nation’s critical technologies and infrastructure,” said Thomas Cannizzo, Special Agent for the Southeast area of ​​the Maritime Crime Investigation Service. office.

The lawsuit originated as an illegal gun operation and involved the FBI, NCIS, the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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