Taiwan police have arrested at least six people for passing trade secrets to a Chinese company. Beijing has come under increased criticism for failing to stop intellectual property theft.
Taiwanese authorities on Monday announced they had arrested six current and former employees of German chemicals giant BASF for passing trade secrets to a Chinese company.
The Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said engineers were involved in a plot "to leak crucial technology and manufacturing processes … to make illegal profits."
The engineers had received at least $1.3 million (€1.1 million) out of nearly $6 million offered by China-based Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co., said CIB director Lu Sung Hao.
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Trade secrets for sale
The engineers, including at least one senior manager, are suspected of selling the Jiangsu-based company electronic manufacturing processes to build a chemicals plant in mainland China.
BASF said that only one of the engineers arrested in Taiwan was still an employee and that their contract had been suspended for now.
"We have taken immediate steps to support the investigation led by local law enforcement officials and protect the relevant information," said BASF.
BASF said it is working with Taiwanese authorities to determine how much information was passed on to the Chinese company
Intellectual property theft
China has come under increased scrutiny for alleged intellectual property theft.
US President Donald Trump imposed some $50 billion worth of tariffs over intellectual property theft, which the US government says results in up to $600 billion in losses annually.
In Germany, officials have also expressed concerns. German prosecutors in November announced they would charge a former employee of Cologne-based chemicals maker Lanxess for stealing trade secrets in hopes of setting up a copycat reactor in China.
ls/rt (Reuters, AFP)