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Crackdown on industrial espionage, arresting 77 people

Posted June. 12, 2023 08:05,   

Updated June. 12, 2023 08:05


Mr. A, a researcher in his 50s who had used to work at a Chinese office of a domestic company, moved to a Chinese ICT firm around March 2021. During this process, the police discovered that Mr. A filmed and secretly stole trade secrets from the domestic company and handed him over to the prosecution in March of this year on charges of violating the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act. The results of the investigation found that Mr. A stole trade secrets on condition he received hundreds of millions of won, including salary and living expenses, educational expenses for children,n and housing expenses.

The National Investigation Headquarters of the National Police Agency announced on Saturday that a total of 35 special crackdowns on crimes harmful to economic security, such as the leakage of industrial technology, led to the arrest of 77 people, including Mr. A, over the past three months. Twenty seven of the 35 cases were technology leaks between domestic companies, and eight cases regarded leaks of confidential information abroad. In contrast, during the special crackdown conducted during the same period last year, there were only four cases of leaking overseas secrets.

A foreigner stole the core technology of a domestic company as well. A Chinese man in his 40s who stole over 10,000 pieces of medical robot technical data from a research institute affiliated with a large hospital in Seoul and sent them to China was arrested through this special crackdown and handed over to the prosecution last month.

By type of crime, trade secret leakage was the most common, with 26 cases (74.3%), followed by business breach of trust with five cases (14.3%), and industrial technology leakage with three cases (8.6%). Of the 35 cases caught red-handed, 29 (82.9%) were related to SMEs with relatively weak security, and six (17.1%) were related to large enterprises.

“If you suspect industrial technology leakage or have suffered damage, please report it to the Industrial Technology Leakage Report Center opened on the National Police Agency website or visit the nearest police station,” a police official said. “The police will continue to crack down on the crime of 'industrial espionage,’ which steals core technology from businesses.”