Friday, 04 Apr, 2008 Politics

Hardworking Employee Suddenly 'Woke up' to Spy for China


Last week, Chi Mak, a 67-year-old electrical engineer, was charged of violating the U.S. export law for copying thousand of defense systems' related documents and allegedly transmitting them to China.

Chi Mak was sentenced by the federal judge to 24 and a half years in prison. At the end of the case, the federal judge said that China should treat this case as a warning not to try to steal American military secrets.

Chi Mak acknowledged to be sent in the USA more than 20 years ago in order to steal American defense-related secrets. He settled in Southern California USA back in 1985 along with his wife Rebecca Chiu Mak. He got a job at Power Paragon - a company working on advanced naval propulsion technologies. He was a hardworking employee, his colleagues witnessed, and in 1996 Mak was given access to classified military information, which included engineering details for U.S. ships and submarines.

FBI started an intensive investigation on Chi Mak in 2003. The investigation included wiretaps, secret searches and installation of hidden cameras in Mak's house. Thus the surveillance showed that Mak was copying the stolen technical document onto the hard disk of his PC. The disks were supposed to be sent to China via Mak's brother and sister-in-law.

The entire spy family was arrested on October 28, 2005. The couriers were arrested at the LA International Airport, where they were preparing to board a plane, and the spy himself was arrested the same day at home.

According to the investigators, a to-do list was found, which has been recognized as a list of targets, written in Chinese script. Even though the note had been shredded, its stripes were arranged in the right order for the prosecutors to see the original list. Thus it was revealed that the list contained types of technology that Mak was ordered by Beijing to acquire.

While testifying in his defense at the trial, Mak denied being a spy for China and said that the information he acquired was available from sources on the Internet. Defense witnesses told that many documents were not officially classified, yet transmitting those documents to China was prohibited under the U.S. export laws.

According to Mak's attorney, Ronald O. Kaye, Chi Mak became just a scapegoat for other failures of the American intelligence

Mak's case became another trial, where U.S. citizens where charged of allegedly sending classified military information to China, yet Chinese representatives reject all the accusation on sending spies to America.

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