2024-06-06 Investigation Bureau Cracks Down on Former Employees’ Industrial Espionage Case; Four Released on Bail

June 6, 2024 16:58 China Times

On the 6th, the Investigation Bureau announced that it had cracked a case last month involving a tech company exploiting former employees of a competitor to engage in industrial espionage and steal trade secrets to gain a competitive advantage. The Investigation Bureau conducted searches in seven locations and interviewed four individuals involved in the case. All four were released on bail after questioning. The case is being investigated under criminal laws pertaining to computer misuse and violations of trade secrets law.

According to the Investigation Bureau, the case originated when a well-known information management and development consulting firm in Taiwan discovered during an internal security audit that its cloud system had been illegally accessed. Business confidential information, such as project content, work results, and contract details, had been stolen. The company reported the incident to the Investigation Bureau’s Cyber Security Task Force.

The Investigation Bureau, under the directive of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office, collaborated with the victim company to review internal system connection records. They found strong evidence implicating former employees. To prevent further damage, on May 22, the Cyber Security Task Force, along with investigators from Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan, mobilized nearly 30 investigators to simultaneously search seven locations, including the residences and workplaces of the suspects in Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Tainan. Four individuals, including a suspect surnamed Chen, were brought in for questioning. The searches also uncovered illegally obtained data and a significant amount of digital evidence related to the case.

The investigation revealed that after resigning, the former associate manager, Chen, established a competing tech company. Together with former senior employees Tian, Hu, and Qiu, Chen exploited security vulnerabilities in the victim company’s information management system. Even after leaving, they continued to access their former company’s system to illegally obtain project content, work results, and contract details, thereby gaining a competitive edge and severely infringing on the rights of their previous employer.

After being re-interviewed by the prosecutors of the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office, Chen was released on NT$180,000 bail, Qiu on NT$100,000 bail, Hu on NT$80,000 bail, and Tian on NT$60,000 bail. The case is being pursued under charges related to the criminal misuse of computers and violations of trade secrets law.

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