- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Yong Ki Kwon, an avid paintball participant and a Muslim, hemmed and hawed yesterday when asked whether he looked forward to murder when he went to Pakistan to train to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Then, U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema broke into questioning and asked, “Did you intend to kill anybody?”

“I knew there was a strong possibility I might be in combat,” answered Kwon, 28, a Fairfax resident who has pleaded guilty and was testifying in U.S. District Court in Alexandria against four former companions also charged with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, weapons violations and aid to terrorist groups. Kwon was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Much of Kwon’s testimony focused on Masoud Ahmad Khan, 32, of Gaithersburg, with whom Kwon lived for awhile. Kwon, born in Korea and a naturalized U.S. citizen, also had gone to school and become friends with Mr. Khan’s brother.

Kwon said he and Mr. Khan had traveled to Pakistan in the days after the September 11 attacks to train with a group called Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is seeking to drive India from the disputed Kashmir region and was designated a terrorist group by the U.S. government in December 2001.

After military training with Lashkar-e-Taiba ended in 2003, Kwon started an export business in Korea. FBI agents traced him, arranged to meet him in Hawaii and then brought him to a Virginia hotel, where he was questioned.

Agents “encouraged” him to call Mr. Khan after he was arrested, Kwon testified. Mr. Khan told Kwon not to admit anything and to get a lawyer, Kwon said.

Kwon identified two rifles — a pump shotgun and a handgun found by agents in Mr. Khan’s house — and a sheaf of papers with a white cover sheet entitled “Terrorists Handbook, etc.”

Prosecutors say the group used paintball games near Fredericksburg, Va., in the summers of 2000 and 2001 to prepare for holy war against India and other nations with whom the United States is at peace.

However, Kwon said Mr. Khan was not very interested in the paintball games, in which participants use guns that project paint-filled pellets that splatter colored paint when they hit combatants.

Mr. Khan also wanted to return to Pakistan, where he was born, to work out the inheritance from his successful father, who had died 10 years earlier, Kwon testified.

Earlier yesterday, Cynthia Reish, manager of Vesta Technology in West Ridge, Col., testified that Mr. Khan, before going to Pakistan, ordered a high-tech navigation system in December 2002 that uses global positioning system technology to fly a radio-controlled plane automatically.

Most of the monitors have been sold to the U.S. military, universities and technical corporations, she said.

Mr. Khan never showed an interest in remote-controlled airplanes, Kwon said, but “his brother” had an intricate, agile remote-controlled car.

Others on trial are Northern Virginia residents Seifullah Chapman, Hammad Abdur-Raheem and Caliph Basha Ibn Adur-Raheem, no relation. Five others charged with the same crimes have pleaded guilty, and three have testified.

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