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Man Accused of Selling US Military Drones On EBay 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
garymortimer writes "47-year-old Henson Chua is in a bit of trouble for trying to sell a RQ-11B 'Raven' Unmanned Aerial Vehicle on eBay. From the article: 'A federal grand jury in Tampa returned an indictment charging Henson Chua, 47, of Manilla, Philippines, with violations of the Arms Export Control Act and smuggling, following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations. If convicted on all counts, Chua faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.'" I'm kicking myself for missing this auction.
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Man Accused of Selling US Military Drones On EBay

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  • Everyone knows that you find your buyers with cryptic messages using odd media
  • Got it where (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How did he acquire it in the first place, second How much did it sell for?

    • How much did it sell for?

      $13000, according to Reuters [reuters.com].

      • Is this all for 100% with proof, or is this media making a case out of something that was supposed to resemble the drone, and the auctioneer used that name to get attention to his homebrew drone...???

        • Is this all for 100% with proof, or is this media making a case out of something that was supposed to resemble the drone, and the auctioneer used that name to get attention to his homebrew drone...???

          That thought occurred to me, too.

          If you've ever searched eBay for a particularly popular cellphone -- for example -- you've certainly noticed the wide range of knock-offs you get in the results. Some are obvious or even upfront about being a look-alike. Others less so. It certainly is at least plausible that this guy was selling a knockoff.

  • I have a better idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The US military should sell online drone control sessions on XBox live, they could easily ringfence the middle east and put a few thousand drones in the air. They could call the game "death from above", "warfare for all" or simply "foreign policy".

    Seriously, war is not cheap so why not put the worlds gamers to good use and collect the revenue?

    • Ender's Game?
      • Ender's Game?

        More like the movie "Toys" In fact, that was the first time I'd ever seen this idea...

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      Seriously, war is not cheap so why not put the worlds gamers to good use and collect the revenue?

      Here's a reason; griefers.

    • because there's always that idiot that thinks it's funny to dump the payload on the own troops for kicks. And that could maybe be a tad bit of a PR problem in this case.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      While that would make the operational effort a bit less expensive, it would make the legal hassles many orders of magnitude more expensive.

  • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @12:52PM (#35654662)

    ... these UAVs are becoming more and more like amateur model aircraft. In this current climate (fear, terror, control), I believe the model aircraft crowd are therefore likely to be increasingly regulated. It has happened already to the high power rocketry crowd (they pushed back - with some limited success).

    An anecdote: a few years ago, a group flew a model airplane across the Atlantic (link [bbc.co.uk]). I found this quite interesting and told a few friends. One reacted with horror, postulating that terrorists would be able to use such a thing to deliver all sorts of nasty. No counterargument convinced him of the absurdity of his fear.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Layer 3 Ninja (862455)
      There is at least some support in the Senate for the RC guys with bill S.223. There is a section which will prevent the FAA from regulating model aircraft given the meet a certain criteria: (1) IN GENERAL.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into FAA plans and policies,, including this section, the Administrator shall not promulgate any rules or regulations regarding model aircraft or aircraft being developed as model aircraft if such aircr
      • Translation: We don't want the FAA to jump the gun and issue a regulation that doesn't further our goals but is far enough so we could not tighten it without raising suspicion.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      An anecdote: a few years ago, a group flew a model airplane across the Atlantic (link [bbc.co.uk]). I found this quite interesting and told a few friends. One reacted with horror, postulating that terrorists would be able to use such a thing to deliver all sorts of nasty. No counterargument convinced him of the absurdity of his fear.

      What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

      The only thing missing is a hazardous payload that is concentrated enough to be carried on an ultralight, GPS guided model plane, then it just needs to be programmed to drop the cargo on large sporting event, concert, etc. Make it a night drop and there's not much that can be done to stop it since the tiny plane would have a tiny radar cross section and be hard to s

      • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @01:49PM (#35655442) Journal

        Actually, the absurdity is that these are fairly complex undertakings. These types of hobbies - or at least those that do it successfully - are generally for pretty smart folk, and there are precious few of those in these terrorist organizations (they do exist, but in very, very small numbers). There are far cheaper ways of working terror, and at the end of the day, everybody has a limited budget.

        I happen to have played with both pyrotechnics (I was a PGI member for many years) and I now do high power rocketry. It's fun stuff, and it's far less usable to terrorists than a tank full of gasoline, but up until recently you could fill up a 300 gallon tank on the back of a pickup at any local gas station, but you couldn't store 64 grams of slow burning model rocket propellant in your garage without a BATFE inspected, plate steel, double hasp explosives magazine and a Low Explosives Users Permit. You're allowed to have 25lbs of black powder in your basement, but you still can't purchase a 0.5gram engine igniter without the aforementioned permit.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          That's the beauty of democracy. It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to be included in something that was voted on.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          "Actually, the absurdity is that these are fairly complex undertakings. These types of hobbies - or at least those that do it successfully - are generally for pretty smart folk, and there are precious few of those in these terrorist organizations (they do exist, but in very, very small numbers). "
          Really? That seems to be a very optimistic or arrogant attitude. I am not for limiting RC and or Model rocket enthusiasts since I doubt that it would actually make anybody safer. Thing is that now that you can buy

      • by ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @01:52PM (#35655476)

        What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

        It is akin to worrying about general aviation (all those "uncontrolled" airplanes in the sky - in the hands of terrorists, etc.) while ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room - Ryder trucks. Only more so.

        Further, as has been demonstrated repeatedly, a car bomb is a horrifyingly effective terrorist weapon (cheap, fast, inconspicuous, readily available, large payload). As an example, the use of just one such device ended up with US forces leaving Beirut.

        Thus far, no model airplanes have been used in any terrorist attack (long distance or otherwise). If we are to worry about model airplane terrorist attacks, then we are no longer able to prioritize and are fearful to the point of collapse.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        What is the absurdity of the fear that a model airplane that can fly thousands of miles by itself could be used to deliver something hazardous?

        What's the LD50 for ricin?

        The absurdity isn't for one vehicle randomly delivered or its ability to cause someone to die. The absurdity is that John Q. Public is so ego-bloated yet frightened by American marketing ploys that he thinks he could ever be the target of such a thing.

      • The absurdity of it is that this is, broadly speaking, a free country, and there is very little preventing someone from taking your life other than the fear of law enforcement.

        See, thats one of the hazards of a free country, and the only way to chip away at such hazards is to increasingly implement a police state. So for every one of these worries you assuage, you give up more freedom.

        THATS the absurdity of it-- are you not concerned that someone can legally own a gun, and could very easily take your life

    • by blair1q (305137)

      He had precisely the reaction that most of America did the day the Soviets reported that Sputnik was in the sky.

      The result was 30 years of intense development of ICBMs, space programs, and MIRVs, plus all the radars and launch sites and giant bombers and their bases and the tens of thousands of documents delineating how all this stuff was supposed to be used. Probably a trillion dollars or more in 1950s dollars were justified, because of that one feeling. We're still living with the streamlining of the MI

  • by jd (1658) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @01:00PM (#35654768) Homepage Journal

    One 19,000 tonne aircraft carrier for sale [edisposals.com], one careful owner, only used to drive to church on sundays and launch fearsome aircraft into the skies to intimidate the enemy and drink their blood [bbc.co.uk].

  • Piddling around with this irrelevant stuff takes ICE away from the far greater threat to the US of A: IP theft!

    /snark
    • by westlake (615356)

      Piddling around with this irrelevant stuff takes ICE away from the far greater threat to the US of A: IP theft!>/quote>

      Govetnments multitask. Deal with it.

  • they nabbed him as he was getting off the Jetway? Maybe just for grins an agent holding up a sign saying "Prison."
  • Would definitely buy again.

  • Did it come as a package deal along with his daughter's virginity?

  • The plane itself is nothing dangerous or even impressive.

    Build your own if you want... start here: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=14465 [hobbyking.com]

  • Was he trying to simply steal money or did he have any means of actually delivering the device? If he is only a thief Homeland Security really should stay out of the equation.
    Does this mean that I should not sell my 40 megaton armed Cruise missiles to the highest bidders?
    We could solve numerous problems with armaments. For example we could spin windmills on our side of the pond with the nuclear wind caused by bombing the middle east

  • If you go read the description of these devices there is only one reason he would be in trouble and that is because the planes still had military level encryption.
    So yes there is a reason a bunch of better informed people would say he is guilty for selling "a remote plane with a camera"

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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