The Korea Times reports that four people, current and former Samsung employees, face charges of stealing technology for next-generation mobile phones from Samsung and passing it to Chinese handset makers.
The Korea Times article, by Staff Reporter Cho Jin-seo, says the theft had the potential to cost the handset industry as much as 8.8 trillion won (approx. U.S. $8.5 billion). Arrested by the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office were a Samsung Electronics engineer, surname Jung, and a former Samsung employee identified as Chae. They are charged with the theft of documents and blueprints. Two more engineers, surnames Kong and Kim, were charged but not arrested for assisting in the theft. Prosecutors accuse Jung and Chae of attempting to distribute computer files with the core data of new phones. The data is said to be for new Samsung multimedia smart phones with personal digital assistant (PDA) capabilities, intended by Samsung for European and North American markets.
Korea's counterespionage agency, the National Intelligence Service (NIS), got wind of the plot and stopped the data transfer from happening. The NIS says it uncovered 82 industrial espionage cases involving the illegal transfer of technology to foreign countries since 1998. The Korea Times says that the Samsung Economic Research Institute identified China as the one country most likely (39 percent of the time) to be on the receiving end of stolen industry data. China is followed by the U.S. (21 percent) and Taiwan (18 percent).
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