Businessman sentenced to five years for smuggling military chips to China
66-year-old Los Angeles scientist Yi-Chi Shih, Sentenced Sentenced to more than five years (63 months) imprisonment for transferring sensitive technology to the Chinese government. The verdict was made after being convicted in 2019 for illegally acquiring monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) and selling them to a Chinese state-owned entity. Shih was also ordered to pay US$362,000 in damages and a fine of US$300,000 to the IRS.
In a civil application, MMIC Used for microwave mixing, power amplification and high-frequency switching. But the military can use MMICs in missiles, missile guidance systems, fighter jets, electronic warfare and countermeasures, and radar applications. According to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the United States Export Administration Regulations (EAR), these chips cannot be exported without special permission.
Yi-Chi Shih is the president of Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC), which is building an MMIC manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China. According to U.S. Department of JusticeBut developing MMICs and building wafer fabs are expensive and time-consuming (but there are many companies producing GaN-based MMICs), so Shih and his associates formulated Plan B: Acquire MMICs from an American company and illegally export them to China.
To this end, Shih established Pullman Lane Productions, LLC in Hollywood Hills, California. The company’s funding comes from China. With the help of a colleague, Shih visited the customer portal of an American MMIC supplier as a domestic customer and purchased MMIC, claiming that he intends to use these chips only in the United States, but exports them to China and sells them to State-owned enterprise AVIC 607.
In 2014, CGTC was included in the Entity List of the Department of Commerce on the grounds of illegally purchasing goods and articles for the ultimate use of the Chinese military for “being involved in activities that violate the interests of US national security and foreign policy”.