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US charges Chinese national with smuggling marine warfare goods and tech for PLA

Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., on November 29, 2017. (Ting Shen/Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS)
November 02, 2018

The Justice Department announced charges against a Chinese national for exporting illegal goods to China.

Shuren Qin was charged with “conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, money laundering and making false statements to government officials,” according to the DOJ release on Friday.

These are the second round of charges against Qin. On Oct. 30, he was charged with “conspiracy to commit export violations, visa fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Qin, a Chinese native who acquired permanent U.S. residency in 2014, runs several companies that operate in China. One of the companies, LinkOcean Technologies, specializes in the importation of “goods and technology with understate and marine applications.”

He allegedly partnered with companies backed by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and took their requests to acquire U.S. goods to be used in anti-submarine warfare.

One of the entities, Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU), is a military research institution which was deemed a prohibited entity by the Department of Commerce in 2001 due to risks to national security. Qin, however, denied having a customer on the prohibited list.

“Qin exported at least 60 hydrophones (devices used to detect and monitor sound underwater) from the United States to NWPU without obtaining the required export licenses from the Department of Commerce,” the DOJ release states.

“Qin and his company, LinkOcean, did so by concealing from the U.S. manufacturer of the hydrophones that NWPU was the true end-user and by causing false end-user information to be filed with the U.S. Government,” it added.

Additionally, Qin “exported a U.S.-manufactured remotely-operated side scan sonar system to a PLA Troop in November 2015.”

Qin was arrested and detained by the U.S. Marshals Service in June on charges of providing fraudulent documents on the exportation of marine equipment that ended up in the possession of the Chinese military, the Boston Globe reported at the time.

Qin faced “one count of visa fraud, one count of conspiring to commit violation of export regulations, and visa fraud charges,” and pleaded not guilty.

He was granted release until his trial.

The DOJ also charged Qin with visa fraud for “falsely certifying that he was not seeking to ‘engage in export control violations or other unlawful activity’ when, in fact, he engaged in numerous violations of U.S. export laws between 2012 and 2018 both in China and in the United States.”

Qin could face a significant amount of prison time and fines. Each of his charges carries maximum fines of $250,000 to $1 million, and between five and 20 years in prison.