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Published: Sun, September 04, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

U.S. charges ex-Air China manager with smuggling packages for Chinese military

U.S. charges ex-Air China manager with smuggling packages for Chinese military

Prosecutors charged a former Air China Ltd. manager yesterday with smuggling packaged out of the United States to China on behalf of the Chinese military.

In arguing the prosecution was not about bribery, they pointed to questions Federal Bureau of Investigation agents posed to Ng after his September 2015 arrest about whether an associate, Qin Fei, was involved with foreign intelligence. A lawyer for Mr Ng declined comment.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged Ying Lin, a former Newark Liberty International Airport station manager for Air China 0753, +0.17%, with five criminal counts Wednesday, including smuggling and obstruction of justice.

Her lawyer, who has previously identified Lin as a USA citizen who has lived here for 23 years, did not return a call for comment.

The prosecutors' statement didn't identify the airline Lin had worked for, but the Wall Street Journal reported it was Air China, the country's flag carrier.

While court records shield the name of Lin's employer, the news wire uncovered that she worked as the Newark station manager for Air China and that she came under the radar of US authorities during their investigation of Macau billionaire Ng Lap Seng.

Lin was first charged a year ago with illegal structuring of financial transactions. She pleaded not guilty. She's also accused of helping a Chinese citizen she believed was being investigated by the USA escape to China on a flight from JFK.

Ying Lin transported the packages on flights from China in exchange for gifts like Apple devices and duty-free liquor, U.S. prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Ng gave Ashe over $500,000 in bribes to, among other things, seek United Nations support for a conference center in the Chinese territory of Macau, which Ng's company, Sun Kian Ip Group, would develop.

While not named, the indictment said Lin was responsible for renovating and furnishing a Long Island residence the "Confederate" owned.

Ashe died in June awaiting trial. Ng has said he paid for renovations at Qin's mansion.

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