Qin Shuren, the head of a company that distributes marine-related products, was arrested in the United States on Thursday on charges of conspiring with an entity affiliated with China’s armed forces to export devices that could be used in anti-submarine warfare. Qin (41), a Chinese national living in Massachusetts, was charged with visa fraud and conspiring to commit violations of US export regulations.
According to the complaint, Qin, a lawful permanent resident of the United States since 2014, runs several China-based companies that import goods from the United States and Europe with applications in underwater or marine technologies. Among those companies is LinkOcean Technologies, whose clients include Chinese research institutes and the naval warfare branch of the People’s Liberation Army, the complaint said. Qin is president of the company, according to court papers.
The prosecutors said that from 2015 to 2016, Qin exported 78 hydrophones, devices which can be used to monitor sound underwater, to Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU), a Chinese military research institute. Prosecutors said that because of national security risks, the US Commerce Department requires an export license to be obtained to ship US goods to NWPU, which works with the People’s Liberation Army to advance its military capabilities. Prosecutors also said that Qin sought to illegally smuggle the devices to China and concealed from a US supplier of hydrophones that NWPU was the entity that would be receiving the products.
In 2014, Qin also falsely claimed in his visa application that he did not intend to enter the United States to commit export violations and, later in his petition to become a legal permanent resident, falsely said that he committed no crimes, prosecutors said.