An arms dealer working in Taiwan has been arrested and charged in the US after he allegedly tried to pass sensitive information to China, according to sources and court documents obtained by the Taipei Times yesterday.
FBI agents arrested Bill Moo, who also goes by the names Moo Ko-suen (慕可舜) and Mike Huang, in November in the US state of Florida on a complaint of the "manufacture/import/export [of a] defense article or defense service without a license."
Moo, an ethnic Chinese citizen of South Korea, was the representative for US defense contractor Lockheed Martin in Taiwan for nearly 10 years.
Due to the nature of the charges, Moo is being held without bail.
He was charged on Saturday with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempted exportation of arms and munitions and [two counts of] money laundering" during his arraignment at the US District Court in Miami, Florida.
Moo has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A US law enforcement source said that Moo had been trying to smuggle sensitive technology from the F-16 Falcon -- an advanced fighter jet -- in contravention of the US' International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
He would not confirm if the intended destination for the parts was China.
Lockheed Martin, which produces the F-16, referred all calls yesterday to a public relations firm, which referred inquiries back to the company.
Because of Taiwan's unique diplomatic status, most foreign arms-industry firms conduct business here through third-party agents or independent sales representatives.
Moo was such an agent, a defense industry source in Taiwan told the Taipei Times.
"He was the most successful sales rep [in Taiwan] and had the most sensitive programs, including Po-Sheng, air defense command centers, advanced radars, etc. He was a big Lockheed guy, and maybe worked for some French companies, also," the source said.
Po-Sheng ("Broad Victory") refers to the Ministry of National Defense's (MND) program to boost command and control capabilities, or the ability to receive and relay information in the field.
An MND official contacted yesterday said he had no information on the issue.
Despite recent high-profile opposition in the Legislative Yuan to a major arms purchase from the US, Taiwan remains one of the largest customers in the world for the US arms industry.