A man accused of trying to pass sensitive information to China formerly worked at an engineering company in Port Alberni that specializes in shipbuilding.
On Dec. 1, the RCMP and detailed the circumstances leading to the November arrest of Qing Quentin Huang, 53, of Toronto.
Huang was charged under the Security of Information Act with trying to pass on sensitive details that the Canadian government is trying to protect.
Specifically, the case involves an allegation that Huang attempted to pass Canada’s national shipbuilding procurement strategy to the Peoples Republic of China. The $40 billion program involves building various ships for the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard.
“In these types of cases, sharing of information may give a foreign entity a tactical, military or competitive advantage by knowing the specifications of vessels responsible for defending Canadian waters and Canadian sovereignty,” said RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer Strachan in a news release.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said that the matter is totally groundless.
The charges relate to Huang’s job at Lloyd’s Register, a subcontractor for Irving Shipbuilding Inc., where Huang worked since 2006.
Before he worked at Lloyd’s though Huang worked as a draftsman and engineer at Alberni Engineering in Port Alberni from 2001 to 2004, said former co-worker Jamie Clark.
Huang and Clark worked on a couple of boat stability projects together, he said. “He was quiet and stuck to himself a lot. I don’t know why it was he ended up in Port Alberni though,” Clark said.
Huang didn’t talk about himself much but Clark said he caught bits here and there. “I think he said his family owned or ran a shipyard in the Orient somewhere, and I think he had a young son.”
A 2004 press release from Simon Fraser University notes that Huang lived at the campus with his then 16-year-old son, a math and physics genius who went to AW Neill Middle School and Alberni District Secondary School.
Huang’s professional profile is found on the Professional Engineers of Ontario website. It reports that he graduated with an MA in marine hydrodynamics from Huazhong (Central China) University of Science and Technology in Huazhong (Central China) University of Science and Technology in 1985.
The Huangs became Canadian citizens in 2004.
The news that Huang was arrested came as a shock to Clark. “He was such a strict, regimented by-the-book kind of guy,” he said. “I saw the story on the weekend but it didn’t click until we started talking about it at work today.”