The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the complaints of Chi Mak, the Anaheim defense company engineer who claims he was wrongly convicted of trying to deliver to communist China a CD containing data about sensitive methods U.S. Navy submarines and warships employ to avoid sound detection.
Mak, who is presently serving a 24-year sentence in prison, argued he was unaware he needed government permission to transfer the technology, intended to give the data to a Chinese professor as a cultural exchange, and that federal prosecutors failed to prove he should have known the U.S. military would be alarmed by his actions.
But this month the federal appellate panel considered and dismissed all of the Chinese native's arguments.
"The documents at issue were covered by the United States Munitions List at the time Mak attempted to export them," wrote Judge Milan D. Smith, Jr., in the June 21 opinion. "There was overwhelming evidence that he knew his actions were illegal."
In Oct. 2005, FBI agents arrested Mak's brother and sister-in-law when they tried to board a flight from Los Angeles International Airport to Hong Kong while carrying in their luggage a CD containing the sensitive naval technology data.
Mak had obtained the information as a senior engineer for Power Paragon, Inc., an Anaheim-based defense contractor.
American authorities believe that China planted Mak in the U.S. decades ago as a sleeper spy.
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The ruling means that Mak will continue to serve his prison sentence at The Federal Correctional Institution at Lompoc.
The 71-year-old will be 86 in 2027 when he's scheduled for release from custody.
In 2008, Mak's lawyers argued for a lenient prison term to 2018, but U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney in Santa Ana refused to pretend the crimes were accidental.