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Hong Kong man arrested for selling stolen U.S. military equipment

By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Hong Kong man was arrested in San Francisco and accused of selling infrared laser-aiming devices stolen from U.S. military installations, U.S. authorities said Tuesday.

Kwok Kuen Leung, 38, also known as Andy Leung, smuggled the laser devices, night-vision scopes and other military equipment into the United States from 2005 to 2009, according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan Federal Court.

Infrared laser-aiming devices are mounted on weapons and project a laser beam on a target that can't be seen by the human eye, but can be seen with night-vision equipment. They are generally manufactured for military use or law enforcement.

The technology is so sensitive that it can pose a threat to national security if it gets into the wrong hands, James Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement.

Leung appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco Tuesday, who ordered him detained and sent to New York, where he had been indicted.

Leung is charged with falsely classifying goods for entry into the United States, importing goods through false statements, smuggling and selling stolen military equipment. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 142 years in prison, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan.

Attorney Rita Bosworth, who represented Leung in California Tuesday, declined comment.

The case is U.S. v Leung, 08-CR-649, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Additional reporting by Daniel Levine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)