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2 South Koreans caught for suspected smuggling of U.S. chips to China

South Korea’s customs agency said Thursday it has caught two South Koreans for allegedly smuggling semiconductor chips produced by an American manufacturer to China worth more than 10 billion won (US$7.49 million).

The two officials of a foreign ele…

South Korea's customs agency said Thursday it has caught two South Koreans for allegedly smuggling semiconductor chips produced by an American manufacturer to China worth more than 10 billion won (US$7.49 million). The two officials of a foreign electronics distributing company, both in their 40s, were accused of exporting 96,000 U.S.-made computer chips worth 13.9 billion won combined to China without a customs declaration, according to the Korea Customs Service. Of the total, 53,000 units worth 11.8 billion won were designated by the South Korean government as a strategic item subject to state permission for exports, but they failed to go through such due process. The chips were initially imported by a South Korean telecommunication equipment development firm for domestic use, and they had shipped them to China 144 times via air mail from August 2020 through August 2023 after disguising them as sample products. The customs agency sent the two to the prosecution for the suspected violation of the Foreig n Trade Act, the Customs Act and the Act on Regulation and Punishment of Criminal Proceeds Concealment, the agency said. "The U.S. has tightened its control on semiconductor exports to China and concerns have risen over South Korea being used as an export detour. We will enhance monitoring and sternly deal with such illegal acts," an agency official said. Source: Yonhap News Agency