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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
01/16/2013

HSI arrest a Hong Kong man for selling and smuggling stolen US military equipment into the US

NEW YORK – A Hong Kong man was arrested Monday at the San Francisco International Airport and presented in federal court in the Northern District of California. The arrest is the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

Kwok Kuen Leung, 38, faces charges for allegedly selling equipment that had been stolen from the U.S. military and for smuggling that equipment and other items into the United States.  

"Kwok Kuen Leung allegedly made false statements to import and sell stolen military grade equipment," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. "This technology is so sensitive that if in the wrong hands it can pose a threat to our national security. This case underscores the threat by those who attempt to circumvent U.S. customs laws. It strengthens our resolve with our federal law enforcement partners to vigorously pursue violators."

"Today's indictment reveals an alleged attempt by Kwok Kuen Leung to operate under the radar to import stolen equipment into the United States that could potentially be used as weapons," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Southern District of New York. "Our office remains committed to ensuring that devices intended for the military and other law enforcement authorities do not get into the wrong hands."

"This investigation demonstrates the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and fellow agencies' continued commitment to identifying individuals involved in the theft, sale and smuggling of U.S. military technology," said Kenneth Siegler, resident agent in charge of the DCIS in New York. "It is imperative that those involved in trafficking stolen Department of Defense equipment be identified and held accountable for their actions."

According to court documents, on several occasions from approximately January 2005 through March 2005, Leung sold weapons-mounted infrared laser aiming devices, which were manufactured for and owned by the U.S. military, but were stolen from U.S. military installations.

Infrared laser aiming devices work by projecting on a target an infrared laser beam that cannot be seen with the naked eye, but can be seen with night-vision equipment. Laser aiming devices are generally manufactured under contract with the Defense Department for military use or under contract with law enforcement agencies.

In addition, on multiple occasions from 2005 through 2009, Leung smuggled into the United States military equipment, including the stolen laser aiming devices, other laser aiming devices and night-vision scopes. Leung allegedly made false and fraudulent statements in customs declaration forms in an effort to import these devices into the country.

For example, Leung falsely stated that the majority of his shipments of the laser aiming devices and night-vision scopes contained, "distance measuring devices."

Leung resides in Hong Kong. He is charged with the following:

  • Eight counts of falsely classifying goods for entry into the United States;
  • Eight counts of importing goods through false and fraudulent statements;
  • Eight counts of import smuggling; and
  • Four counts of selling stolen military equipment.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 152 years in prison on all counts combined.