Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of Hong Kong Man For Selling And Smuggling Stolen U.S. Military Equipment Into The United States
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Kenneth Siegler, Resident Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (“DCIS”), today announced the arrest of KWOK KUEN LEUNG, a resident of Hong Kong, for selling equipment that had been stolen from the United States military and for smuggling that equipment and other items into the United States. LEUNG was arrested last night at the San Francisco International Airport. He was presented earlier today in federal court in the Northern District of California and ordered detained. The case has been assigned to Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “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. Our office remains committed to ensuring that devices intended for the military and other law enforcement authorities do not get into the wrong hands.”
ICE HSI Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said: “Kwok Kuen Leung allegedly made false statements to import and sell stolen military grade equipment. 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.”
DCIS Resident Agent-in-Charge Kenneth Siegler said: "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. It is imperative that those involved in trafficking stolen Department of Defense equipment be identified and held accountable for their actions.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
On several occasions from January 2005 through March 2005, LEUNG sold infrared laser aiming devices that were stolen from United States military installations. Infrared laser aiming devices are mounted on weapons, and work by projecting an infrared laser beam on a target 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 U.S. Department of Defense for military use or under contract with law enforcement agencies.
In addition, on multiple occasions from 2005 through 2009, LEUNG smuggled military equipment including the stolen laser aiming devices, night-vision scopes, and other items into the United States by making false and fraudulent statements in customs declaration forms. For example, LEUNG falsely stated that the majority of his shipments contained “distance measuring devices.” He also significantly understated the actual dollar value of the shipments and paid substantially less in customs duties than would have been owed if the true value of the equipment had been declared.
LEUNG, 38, resides in Hong Kong. He is charged with 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 smuggling, and four counts of selling stolen military equipment. He faces a maximum penalty of 142 years in prison on all counts combined.
Mr. Bharara praised ICE HSI and DCIS for their outstanding work in the investigation.
This prosecution is being handled by the Complex Frauds Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Zachary Feingold is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.