Tags: china | cameras | luggage

Two Chinese Charged Over Hi-Tech Cameras

Monday, 07 Apr 2008 10:04 PM

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Two Chinese men have been charged with breaching US export laws after being caught trying to take 10 thermal-imaging cameras out of the country illegally, justice officials said Monday.

The two men -- a Chinese national and a naturalized US citizen -- were arrested on Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after the cameras which have potential military use were found in their luggage.

Chao Tai Wei, 52, and Guo Zhiyong, 49, have both been charged with attempting to export a restricted item without a license, a Justice Department statement said.

The cameras are export-controlled for national security, nuclear proliferation and regional stability reasons, the statement said.

According to court documents, Chao bought three cameras last year and shipped them to China. However when he ordered 10 more of the cameras last month from FLIR Systems, he was repeatedly warned he would need a license to take them back to China but failed to apply for one.

Chao and Guo were detained after a search of their luggage as they prepared to board a flight to China on Saturday.

US authorities have recently accused China of "aggressively" trying to steal sensitive US military technology and information.

US engineer Chi Mak was jailed for 24 years last month for conspiring to smuggle Navy submarine technology to China, justice officials said.

Mak, 65, who worked for an American company with several Navy contracts, was convicted last May of trying to export intelligence about silent submarines in a plot that involved four members of his family.

© 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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