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Espionage

Professor brothers in Canada and US are both ‘suspected of spying for China’

Canadian police have raided a Montreal firm owned by Shih Ishiang, after his brother Shih Yi-chi was charged in the US

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 10:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 10:48pm

A researcher at McGill University in Montreal whose brother was charged in the United States with stealing technology and sending it to China is now also suspected in the case, a local newspaper said Thursday.

Shih Ishiang, an associate professor in engineering, reportedly used his research position at the school to obtain integrated circuits used in US military radar, jammers and scramblers. The computer chips are at the centre of FBI accusations against his brother Shih Yi-chi, also an associate professor in engineering, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“I don’t have any comment,” Shih Ishiang said Thursday.

Earlier he told Montreal’s daily La Presse he had purchased the circuits for research purposes. “I was writing an application for a research grant,” he said.

Last Friday, his brother Shih Yi-chi, was arrested by the FBI on charges of scheming “to illegally obtain technology and integrated circuits with military applications that were exported to a Chinese company without the required export license.”

The computer chips had allegedly been shipped to Chengdu GaStone Technology Company (CGTC) in Chengdu, China.

The company was blacklisted in 2014, according to the US Attorney’s Office, “due to its involvement in activities contrary to the national security and foreign policy interest of the United States – specifically, that it had been involved in the illicit procurement of commodities and technologies for unauthorised military end use in China.”

At the same time, Canadian federal police raided the offices of JYS Technologies in a suburb of Montreal. The company is solely owned by Shih Ishiang and his wife.

According to FBI documents, JYI Technologies had transferred C$800,000 (US$647,000) to a company set up by an alleged accomplice of Shih Yi-chi in order to legally buy the so-called monolithic microwave integrated circuits or MMIC in the United States.

A sample of the circuits was also sent to Shih Ishiang’s Montreal lab.

The technology, US attorney Nicola Hanna said, “could be used to provide companies (in China) with significant advantages that would compromise US business interests.

“The very sensitive information would also benefit foreign adversaries who could use the technology to further or develop military applications that would be detrimental to our national security.”