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Five Charged With Conspiracy To Export U.S. Defense Info To China

Five family members allegedly worked together to copy and encrypt technical information on U.S. warship technologies in preparation for a "surreptitious delivery" to China.

Government prosecutors are preparing for a hearing next week in a case in which five family members are charged with conspiring to export U.S. defense information to China.

Chi Mak, 66, of Downey, Calif., was an engineer with Power Paragon, a Navy contractor. He allegedly collected technical information about U.S. warship technologies, and then he and his wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, copied it onto CD-ROMs. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, another family member then allegedly encrypted the defense data in preparation for a "surreptitious delivery" to the People's Republic of China.

A report from the DOJ contends that Chi Mak received ''task lists'' that requested specific defense-related information, including information on Naval research into nuclear-powered submarines.

A federal grand jury named all five family members in an indictment that adds counts of conspiracy to export U.S. defense articles to China, attempted and actual export of U.S. defense articles to China, possession of property in aid of a foreign government, and making false statements to federal government investigators.

According to a release from the FBI, the other four indicted include: Chi Mak's wife, Rebecca Laiwah Chiu, 63, of Downey; Chi Mak's brother, Tai Mak, 57, of Alhambra, Calif.; Tai Mak's wife, Fuk Heung Li, 49, of Alhambra; and Tai Mak's son, Billy Yui Mak, 26 of Alhambra.

A hearing on several defense motions is scheduled for Nov. 17.

Chi Mak, his wife, and his brother were first indicted in November 2005 on charges of failing to register as foreign agents. In June, the grand jury returned a superseding indictment adding Fuk Li and her son as defendants. The latest indictment, which came in late October, added new charges against all five, according to the DOJ.

Each count in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, except for the counts alleging making false statements, which carry a maximum of five years.

Chi Mak is scheduled for trial on March 20, 2007. The other four defendants are scheduled to go on trial on May 15, 2007.

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