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Samsung executive jailed for attempted tech leak to China

[THE INVESTOR] A senior executive at Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business division has been jailed for attempting to transfer classified technology documents to China.

The 51-year-old who was in charge of quality control at the company’s logic chip unit was caught in July when he was leaving the company with some copied documents containing technology data on mobile application processors.

After months-long investigations, police found the executive was attempting to leak the documents to China. A judge issued an arrest warrant against him for violating industrial technology protection laws.

He is also facing charges for embezzling corporate funds worth 100 million won (US$900,000). 


Samsung Eletronics headqaurters
Samsung Eletronics headqaurters


The documents he copied contained data on Samsung’s latest 14-nanometer mobile application processor technology used for its Galaxy S6, S7 and Note 5 phones as well as the product information of the 10-nanometer application processor that will be embedded into the upcoming Galaxy S8.

Industry watchers say similar tech leak attempts are likely to continue as the Chinese government is nurturing the semiconductor business as a core national industry and pouring considerable resources to attract talent from around the world, especially from Korea.

More than 1,000 Koreans are estimated to have been hired by Chinese chip companies last year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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