Unmentioned and undiscussed crimes in Malibu are concerning and dangerous

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Malibu/lost Hills Sheriffs and County of Los Angeles Homicide Bureau are on scene at Malibu Lagoon. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times

As readers wade through countless information sources daily, it is sometimes surprising to discover that some crimes committed locally have not been specifically revealed to, or discussed by, Malibuites.

The most recent significant one concerns Chenguang Gong, a 57-year-old man from San Jose, with a temporary residence in Thousand Oaks, who had ties to the Chinese government. 

According to a Feb. 7 press release titled “Justice Department Announces Charges and Arrests in Two Separate Illicit Technology Transfer Schemes to Benefit Governments of China and Iran,” Gong, who is a native of China and became a United States citizen in 2011, was arrested in early February in California and charged with stealing trade secrets from a Malibu-based defense contractor, including stealing blueprints for technologies to detect nuclear missile launches and to track ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The press release stated that Gong was charged in a criminal complaint with theft of trade secrets in federal district court. View the full criminal complaint here: 

www.justice.gov/opa/media/1337756/dl?inline.

Gong’s alleged offenses — committed right in our town — involved him allegedly transferring more than 3,600 files from the Malibu-based research and development company where he worked — identified in court documents as the victim company — to his own personal storage devices during his brief employment with the company late last year. The press release states the the files Gong allegedly transferred include blueprints for sophisticated infrared sensors designed for use in space-based systems to detect missile launches and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles and blueprints for sensors designed to enable U.S. military aircraft to detect incoming heat-sinking missiles and take countermeasures, including by jamming the missiles’ infrared tracking ability. 

The affidavit supporting the criminal complaint states that if the technology were obtained by the Malibu-based company’s competitors, it would be “extremely damaging economically” to the victim company, and it would be “dangerous to U.S. national security if obtained by international actors.”

The press release, which was issued by the DOJ’s year-old Disruptive Technology Strike Force, informs that some of the files Gong stole were later found on storage devices seized from his temporary residence in Thousand Oaks, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint.

Those crimes allegedly occurred right here in Malibu.  

As to Gong’s charges, there is precious little, if anything, that residents could do to detect or thwart him committing those crimes or to even discover the commission of the crimes so as to report them. Nevertheless, Malibu readers should be aware of the federal criminal complaint being filed.

However, residents can be very vigilant when crimes are committed that can be observed, as was the case when Zuma Jay’s Surf Shop and High Tide Collective were burgled three months ago. This reporter only found out that those crimes occurred when I interviewed Zuma Jay concerning his helping Tracy Park when her gallery was vandalized. See related article on A1.

A reader may wonder, “what’s this author’s point in this column?” It is simple. We all need to be vigilant and should report any suspicious activity to authorities, and we all need to be informed when crimes are committed in our community.