Engineer Gets 24 Year Sentence For Trying To Steal Navy Secrets

Engineer Gets 24 Year Sentence For Trying To Steal Navy Secrets
Engineer Gets 24 Year Sentence For Trying To Steal Navy Secrets 6905727 

By Thomas Claburn
March 25, 2008 

A Chinese-born engineer convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. military 
secrets to the People's Republic of China was sentenced Monday to 24 
years and five months in federal prison.

Chi Mak, 65, of Downey, Calif., was formerly employed by defense 
contractor Power Paragon. He was found guilty last May of trying to 
obtain U.S. Navy submarine technology and to illegally export that 
information to China.

"This lengthy prison sentence ensures that Chi Mak will never again 
steal American military secrets for the benefit of another nation," U.S. 
Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien said in a statement. "Chi Mak betrayed the 
United States and endangered our national security, as well as the brave 
men and women of our armed forces."

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an investigation conducted 
by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service found that 
co-conspirators from the PRC instructed Mak to obtain specific defense 
information about current and future naval warship systems. Mak was 
advised to attend seminars to collect sensitive, restricted information 
discussed there and to compile that information on CD-ROM discs. Mak and 
his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, assembled the information on discs and 
gave the discs to Mak's brother, Tai Mak, whose son, Yui "Billy" Mak, 
helped encrypt the data on the discs. Officials discovered the discs in 
October 2005 when Tai Mak and his wife, Fuk Heung Li, tried to board a 
flight for China at Los Angeles International Airport.

The co-conspirators in the case all pleaded guilty following Chi Mak's 
conviction. Tai Mak and Chiu await sentencing in April and May, 
respectively. Li and Billy Mak were sentenced to time served and now 
await deportation to China.

Chi Mak's arrest in 2005 heightened concerns about espionage aimed at 
stealing high-tech secrets. Last November, the U.S.-China Economic and 
Security Review Commission declared that Chinese espionage represented 
"the single greatest risk to the security of American technologies."

Two separate arrests announced last month by the Justice Department 
suggest that risk has not diminished.

Tai Shen Kuo, 58, and Yu Xin Kang, 33, both of New Orleans, and Gregg 
William Bergersen, 51, of Alexandria, Va., were arrested in February on 
suspicion of espionage. They're charged with sending classified U.S. 
government documents and data to the government of China.

In a separate case, former Boeing employee Dongfan "Greg" Chung, 72, of 
Orange, Calif., was arrested in February for allegedly sending 
information about the space shuttle, the C-17 military transport plane, 
and the Delta IV rocket to China.

At the time these arrests were announced, a Justice Department 
spokesperson suggested that the two cases had some limited connection to 
the case of Chi Mak.

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