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Relatives of US engineer convicted of China spying plead guilty

[JURIST] Three relatives [CI Centre backgrounder] of a Chinese-American engineer convicted [BBC report] earlier this year of conspiring to smuggle sensitive naval intelligence data to China [JURIST news archive] have pleaded guilty to related charges as part of a plea agreement [New York Sun report]. Appearing before a judge of the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website], Tai Mak, brother of former Power Paragon [corporate website] engineer Chi Mak, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate defense-related export controls, charges which could land him up to 10 years in prison. Tai's wife Fuk Li and son Billy Mak each pleaded guilty to a single charge of aiding and abetting an export violation, which would result in sentences of probation and time served respectively. The three are expected to be sentenced between end-September and the beginning of October.

Chi Mak, whose trial was earlier this year [JURIST report], was convicted in May for conspiring to commit espionage, acting as a foreign agent, and making false statements to federal agents. He stole computer documents from his employer, and gave them to Tai Mak, who tried to take them to China before being arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. Chi faces up to 45 years in prison and will be sentenced September 10. The Los Angeles Times has more. AFP has additional coverage.

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