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Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Chinese man arrested in Seattle for arms export violations

SEATTLE – A Chinese citizen who traveled to Seattle to illegally procure export restricted technology was arrested Tuesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

According to the criminal complaint, See Kee Chin, aka Alfred Chin, 56, of Hong Kong, made inquiries to a U.S. company through a Canadian intermediary about purchasing highly specialized accelerometers used in spacecraft navigation systems. Over the course of the investigation, HSI special agents learned Chin intended to pick up the equipment himself and smuggle it out of the United States. Chin was arrested in Seattle after he handed over an $85,000 payment and picked up the equipment.

Violation of the Arms Control Export Act carries a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to a $1 million. The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The U.S. Munitions List, primarily administered by the State Department as part of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, consists of categories of defense articles and services that cannot be exported without a license issued by the department. The accelerometers involved in this case are listed on the U.S. Munitions List and therefore require an export license.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington is prosecuting the case.