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B.C. judge denies suspect bail in fighter-jet espionage case

A B.C. resident accused of directing a scheme to steal fighter-jet secrets from Pentagon contractors and sell them to China is weighing his options after being denied bail, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Su Bin, 48, waved goodbye to his wife Wei Wei as he was escorted out of a B.C. courtroom in handcuffs Wednesday, after Justice Austin Cullen ordered he be detained.

Defence lawyer Mark Jette said Mr. Su, a Beijing businessman with a home in Vancouver, may take the bail issue to the court of appeal if there is grounds to do so.

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"When something like this happens you take a step back, you review the reasons, you consider what his options  are, and one of the options is that he can apply to the court of appeal to have that decision reviewed," said Mr. Jette. "He may do that."

Canada is attempting to extradite Mr. Su to the U.S., where he is charged with conspiring to gain unauthorized access to a protected computer. U.S. officials allege Mr. Su instructed two hackers in China on which files to steal from the computers of Boeing Co. and other companies, and then conspired in a series of e-mails to sell the secrets to Chinese aviation companies. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years behind bars.

However, Mr. Jette said the U.S. officials have not yet filed a formal request for an extradition. They have 60 days from Mr. Su's arrest, on June 28, to do so.

"There's no actual extradition yet in place, it's basically an arrest on the promise to initiate one," said Mr. Jette.

In a separate proceeding, Mr. Su's permanent resident status in Canada is under review. He was flagged last year for allegedly spending too much time outside of the country, but Mr. Su has appealed. At the time when the U.S. espionage charges were laid, no date for a hearing had been set.

During Mr. Su's bail hearing last week, Crown counsel Stacey Repas argued the accused was the "directing mind" of the conspiracy, and that if released on bail there was a substantial risk that he would flee to China, where he runs an aviation technology company called Lode-Tech. There is no extradition treaty between China and the U.S., Mr. Repas said.

There is also a risk that if freed Mr. Su could destroy the evidence or sell the data, Mr. Repas argued.

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Mark Jette, the lawyer representing Mr. Su, had argued that the accused has roots in Canada. Mr. Su first arrived in the country in 2002, and now owns a $2-million home near the Vancouver residence that is inhabited by his wife and their two children. Mr. Jette also said his client's passport has been confiscated, so he would have no way of leaving the country.

While delivering his decision, Justice Cullen said Mr. Su's business is based primarily in China, and his only connection to Canada is the fact that it serves as a home base for his wife and children. Justice Cullen said he is not satisfied that the presence of family members and the proposed surety – $600,000 – are enough to stop Mr. Su from fleeing the country.

Mr. Su is expected to appear in court again on Aug. 27.

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