News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Chinese Citizen Arrested For Attempting To Violate The Arms Control Export Act

Investigation Reveals Alleged Plan to Remove Restricted Parts to China

February 11, 2014

            A citizen of China was arrested in Seattle on February 10, 2014, after he entered the United States as part of a scheme to obtain restricted parts and illegally smuggle them to China, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  SEE KEE CHIN, a/k/a, Alfred Chin, 56, of Hong Kong appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle today.  CHIN is charged by complaint with violating the Arms Control Export Act by seeking to obtain and export certain accelerometers that are designated on the United States Munitions List, International Traffic in Arms Regulations.  The accelerometers are designed for low and zero gravity inertial navigation systems that are used in spacecraft.

            According to the criminal complaint, a U.S. company that sells accelerometers reported suspicious contact with a Canadian who wanted to purchase restricted equipment.  Between September 2013 and February 2014, the investigation revealed that the Canadian was inquiring on behalf of CHIN.  CHIN indicated he would personally pick up the order and was arrested in Seattle after he made payment of over $85,000, and picked up the items.

            The penalties for violating the Arms Control Export Act are up to twenty years of imprisonment and up to a million dollar fine.  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 Department of State promulgates the United States Munitions List, which consists of categories of defense articles and services that cannot be exported without a license issued by the Department of State.  The U.S. Munitions List includes the accelerometers ordered in this case. As a result, the export requires an export license.

            The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation (HSI).

            The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Woods.


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