Two Hacienda Heights businessmen appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court on charges that they conspired to illegally export to the People’s Republic of China sophisticated cameras that have a wide variety of military and civilian applications.

Sam Ching Sheng Lee, 63, a native of China, and his nephew, Charles Yu Hsu Lee, 31, a native of Taiwan, were charged with felony counts of conspiracy and exporting without a license technology that is controlled by the government for national security reasons.

They face a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison if convicted.

The Lees, arrested Tuesday morning, are accused of ob- taining 10 thermal imaging cameras from U.S. suppliers from 2002 to 2007 and exporting them to China through their business, the Multi- million Business Associate Corp., based in Hacienda Heights.


Federal authorities said one recipient of the cameras worked for a Shanghai company that was developing infrared technology.

-- Dan Weikel