Mon, Aug 22, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Chinese agent does ‘disappearing’ act

INTO THIN AIR:Despite notification by US authorities that Bill Moo was being deported to Taiwan, and a press release to that effect, no one seems to know where, or who, he is

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter

The controversy over the fate of Ko-suen “Bill” Moo (慕可舜), a Taiwanese businessman who was arrested by US federal agents in Miami in 2005 for attempting to ship sensitive military technology to China, continued to mount yesterday following his deportation from the US to Taiwan last week, with officials saying they have no idea about his whereabouts.

Moo, who was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in a US federal prison in 2005 for seeking to export defense articles — including an F110-GE-129 afterburning turbofan engine for the F-16 — to China, landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Wednesday, accompanied by two US officers.

Reports at the time of Moo’s arrest said he had been working with a French middleman named Maurice Serge Voros, who remains at large. Prior to focusing on the F-16 engine manufactured by General Electric, the pair had also sought to acquire UH-60 Blackhawk engines for China. Other items on Moo’s shopping list — all destined for China — were the AGM-129 cruise missile and AIM-120 air-to-air missile.

In a press release on Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency said that upon arrival in Taiwan, Moo was turned over to local authorities. It added that Enforcement and Removal officers had coordinated the removal with the Homeland Security Investigations Office of International Affairs and local authorities in Taiwan.

However, judicial authorities on Friday said they had no information about Moo’s arrival.

In a follow-up by the Taipei Times, Ministry of National Defense spokesman David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday that the ministry also was “not aware” of Moo’s deportation.

Lo’s comment came despite confirmation to the Taipei Times by a senior officer from the National Immigration Agency’s Border Affairs Corps at the Taoyuan airport on Saturday that the American Institute in Taiwan had informed Taiwanese authorities prior to Moo’s deportation of his imminent arrival.

Border Affairs Corps sent officers to wait for Moo at the gate, the source said, but after the flight was apparently delayed, the officers eventually moved to another gate.

“For some reason, we did not meet Moo at the airport,” he said. “We’ve lost track [of him].”

Asked why Moo had apparently slipped away, the officer said the agency “might not have jurisdiction” and that as far as he knew, Moo had never been convicted of any crimes in Taiwan.

The South Korea-born Moo, who was an international sales consultant for US defense firm Lockheed Martin, maker of the F-16, and other US defense companies in Taiwan prior to his arrest in the US, was involved in the Anyu 4 air defense program in Taiwan and was the principal sales agent on the sensitive Po Sheng “Broad Victory” C4ISR project.

Reports at the time said Moo relied on his “extensive connections” — primarily with the Republic of China air force — to consolidate his role within Lockheed Martin’s business unit.

During the decade he worked as a defense sales agent in Taiwan, Moo had reportedly gained an impressive reputation within the arms industry, with reports referring to him as “the air force’s most critical arms broker.”

Insiders saw Moo as a member of the so-called “gang of four” within the air force, which reportedly included three senior Taiwanese generals who dictated many of the weapons procurement efforts.

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