Chinese National Allegedly Exported Devices with Military Applications to China

Boston, MA–Additional charges were filed on Oct. 30, 2018, against a Chinese national in connection with violating export laws by conspiring with, among others, employees of an entity affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China to illegally export U.S. origin goods to China.

Shuren Qin, a Chinese national residing in Wellesley, was charged in a superseding indictment yesterday with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, money laundering and making false statements to government officials. These charges are in addition to previous charges filed, including conspiracy to commit export violations, visa fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Qin was released on conditions pending trial.

According to court documents, Qin was born in the People’s Republic of China and became a lawful permanent resident of the United States in 2014. Qin operates several companies in China, including a company called LinkOcean Technologies, which imports goods and technology with underwater and marine applications to China from the United States, Canada and Europe. The indictment alleges that Qin communicated with and received taskings from entities affiliated with the PLA, including Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU), a Chinese military research institute, to obtain items used for anti-submarine warfare. In 2001, the Department of Commerce designated NWPU on its Entity List because of the national security risks NWPU poses to the United States. As described in the indictment, NWPU has worked closely with the PLA on the advancement of its military capabilities.

Between approximately July 2015 and December 2016, it is alleged that 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.  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. In addition, on four separate occasions in connection with the export of hydrophones to NWPU, Qin allegedly engaged in money laundering by transferring or causing the transfer of more than $100,000 from Chinese bank accounts to bank accounts located in the United States with the intent to promote and facilitate his unlawful export scheme.

In 2014, it is alleged that Qin engaged in visa fraud in connection with his application to become a lawful permanent U.S. resident by 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 has also been charged with making false statements to government agents on two occasions regarding LinkOcean’s customers and its export activities. Specifically, the indictment alleges that during an interview with Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) Officers in November 2017, Qin stated that he only exported instruments that attach to a buoy. However, Qin allegedly exported remotely-operated side scan sonar systems, unmanned underwater vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, robotic boats, and hydrophones. The items that Qin failed to disclose to, and concealed from, CBP during this interview have military applications, and several of these items were delivered to military end-users in China. For instance, Qin exported a U.S.-manufactured remotely-operated side scan sonar system to a PLA Troop in November 2015. Qin also lied to investigators during an interview on or about June 21, 2018, when he stated that he did not have any customers on the Department of Commerce’s Entity List. In fact, the indictment alleges that Qin and LinkOcean had at least two such customers.


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