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American military hacker suspect arrested in Richmond

Su Bin, aka Stephen Su, accused of unlawful access to U.S. computer networks of Boeing and other defence contractors

A man arrested in B.C. is being sought for extradition to the U.S. over allegations he was part of a conspiracy to hack into the computers of American defence contractors for secrets relating to military aircraft and weapons systems.

On June 27, the U.S. requested the provisional arrest of Su Bin for prosecution in relation to his alleged participation in the conspiracy to unlawfully access computers in the United States.

"The conspirators are alleged to have accessed the computer networks of Boeing and other U.S. defence contractors without authorization, and stolen data related to military aircraft and weapons systems," according to a statement emailed to The Province from the U.S. federal justice department.

Bin, also known as Stephen Su, and also known by a third name, Stephen Subin, was arrested in Richmond the following day, June 28.

He was held in custody and made a brief appearance in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver June 30.

During another appearance on Wednesday, a bail hearing for Bin was set for July 18.

Lyse Cantin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. justice department, declined last week to comment on the case, saying the U.S. complaint about Bin, which apparently originated from California, had been sealed.

Thursday, she released a short statement confirming details of the computer hacking allegations, but declined to answer further questions.

Cantin could not confirm if Bin is a Chinese citizen.

A spokesperson for U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin confirmed Thursday the company is cooperating with U.S. authorities in the investigation, but referred any questions to the FBI, which had no immediate comment.

Lockheed, an American firm, is one of the world's largest defence contractors, having annual revenues of $45 billion US and employing more than 100,000 people.

Boeing, one of the world's largest aircraft companies, is also one of the biggest defence contractors that brings in annual revenues of $30 billion US and employs 68,000 people. The company could not be reached.

In May, the U.S. caused a furor when it charged five Chinese officers with cyber-spying arising from allegations they stole trade secrets from major U.S. companies.

A 56-page indictment accused the men of stealing technologies ranging from solar panels to nuclear power stations, between 2006 and 2014.

Chinese officials responded by claiming that by arresting the Chinese officers, the U.S. was harming military ties and demanding the indictment be withdrawn.

The U.S. has complained that China's military uses computer hacking to steal secrets for its state-controlled industries.

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