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Chinese covert agent sentenced in plot to ship F-16 engine to the PRC

August 3, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Ko-Suen "Bill" Moo of Taiwan was sentenced on charges of being a covert agent of the People's Republic of China and to export defense articles to them, including an F-16 aircraft engine.

F-16 maintenance personnel from the 13th FS check clearance of the airframe while removing the aircraft's engine during exercise Iron Fist '95 on July 12th. [USAF photo by SrA. Steve Thurow]

The United States District Court sentenced Moo to 6 1/2 years of imprisonment, $1,000,000 fine, three years of supervised release. In addition, he was ordered to forfeit his interest in approximately $350,000 that was seized during the investigation of this case.

According to in-court statements during the change of plea hearing, since at least February, 2004, Moo and others had been negotiating for the acquisition of numerous defense articles for illegal delivery to the People's Republic of China (PRC), included an F-16 engine.

During the negotiations for this equipment, Moo traveled to the United States on two occasions. During one of these trips, Moo actually inspected an F-16 aircraft engine and wire transferred $140,000 to cover transportation fees for the delivery of the F-16 engine to an airstrip located inside the PRC.

Moo told cooperating witnesses that he was an operative working at the direction and control of the PRC. He further revealed that the acquisition of the F-16 engine was to be a test purchase, which if successful, would commence a long term relationship during which Moo, on behalf of the People's Republic of China, would acquire other items -- including Blackhawk helicopter engines and air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

At present, the United States does not sell restrictive military equipment to the People's Republic of China.