Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chinese Arms Dealer's Company Was Target of Weapons Inquiry

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chinese Arms Dealer's Company Was Target of Weapons Inquiry

Article excerpt

The White House said Friday that no one knew who Wang Jun was when he passed through the gates last February to meet President Bill Clinton at an event set up by the Democratic National Committee. But he is well-known to almost everyone else in Washington involved in monitoring China, including federal law-enforcement agents.

The company he heads was, at the time, the focus of a federal undercover operation that ultimately netted $4 million in semiautomatic weapons that were headed for West Coast street gangs.

Wang is not just an ordinary Chinese businessman, and definitely not a small-time arms dealer. He is chairman of Poly Technologies, which intelligence officials say is owned and run by China's People's Liberation Army. The company's top officials are largely drawn from the families of China's leadership; by some accounts Poly Technologies has billions of dollars in annual turnover. Wang is also chairman of the state-run investment and trading company Citic, which is Poly Technologies' nominal parent and which serves as the Chinese government's biggest investment group. "The question isn't how this guy got into the White House unnoticed," a U.S. official familiar with China's industrial structure said Friday. "The question is how he got in the country without everyone's alarm bells going off." Wang's trip to the United States raises a series of questions that Clinton administration officials said they could not yet answer. The first is whether Wang, who presumably obtained a legitimate visa to the United States, was traveling in the country without the knowledge of U.S. law-enforcement or intelligence officials. One official familiar with the West Coast case, which involved the seizure in May of 2,000 fully automatic AK-47 assault rifles produced by China's state-run munitions companies, said it did not appear that Wang was under surveillance in connection with the case. …

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