WASHINGTON – Two Singapore men pleaded guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Hia Soo Gan Benson, aka Benson Hia, and Lim Kow Seng, aka Eric Lim, pleaded guilty to the unlawful export of 55 military antennas from the United States to Singapore and Hong Kong. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20, and each faces a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a 3-year term of supervised release.
Hia and Seng conspired to defraud the United States by causing a total of 55 cavity-backed spiral antennas and biconical antennas to be illegally exported from a Massachusetts company to Singapore and Hong Kong without the required State Department license. These military antennas are controlled for export as U.S. munitions and are used in airborne and shipboard environments. They conspired to undervalue the antennas to circumvent U.S. regulations on the filing of shipper’s export declarations to the U.S. government. They also allegedly used false names and front companies to obtain the antennas illegally from the United States.
Corezing International, a company based in Singapore, was also charged in the District of Columbia in connection with the export of these particular military antennas to Singapore and Hong Kong. Corezing and its principals have also been charged in connection with the export of 6,000 radio frequency modules from the United States to Iran via Singapore, some of which were later found in improvised explosive devices in Iraq. Hia and Seng pleaded guilty to the sole charge on which they were extradited from Singapore.
This investigation was jointly conducted by HSI special agents in Boston and Los Angeles; FBI agents in Minneapolis; and Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security agents in Chicago and Boston. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls.