A father and son have been accused of trying to help North Korea produce weapons of mass destruction.
Taiwanese businessman Hsien Tai Tsai "Alex" Tsai was banned from doing business in the United States in 2009 after U.S. officials felt he was working to help North Korea acquire weapons. Authorities now allege that his son, Yueh-Hsun "Gary" Tsai, has been shipping his father machinery that he could use to make weapons of mass destruction.
The complaint against the men asserts that they attempted to hide Alex’s involvement and that of his company, Trans Merits. The two men allegedly used businesses with phony names and were only found out after the FBI conducted an extensive search of their email exchanges.
Alex was arrested in Estonia and is awaiting extradition. Gary was arrested in Illinois and is being confined at his home while wearing electronic monitoring equipment, CBS Local reported.
“There’s no allegation in this complaint that Mr. Tsai was aware than any of this old drilling equipment was destined or intended for North Korea,” Gary’s defense attorney, Ted Poulos, told reporters.
Experts say that "procurement agents" are commonly used by North Korea to help them outfit their weapons programs.
"The only way for them to continue expanding their advanced weapons programs is through these types of procurements," said Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the Institute for Science and International Security. "Stopping them is definitely important to international security."