Six arrested for alleged tech leaks to Chinese company

Six current and former engineers of German chemical maker BASF SE have been arrested by Taiwanese police for allegedly leaking company technology to Chinese rival Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co., Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau said Monday.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which is the world’s largest independent chipmaker, denied reports that some of its confidential information may have been leaked to Jianghua by employees of BASF, according to CNA. TSMC is one of BASF Taiwan’s clients.

Criminal Investigation Bureau official Lu Sung-hao (呂松浩) said on Monday Jianghua allegedly offered direct payment for BASF technology, including 40 million RMB (about NT$200 million or US$5.8 million) for assistance building a factory in eastern China’s Jiangsu province.


Credit: CNA

Investigation bureau official Lu Sung-hao addresses reporters at a Jan. 7 news conference.

It is an especially elaborate case of alleged intellectual property theft, which the U.S. and Taiwan frequently accuse Chinese companies of engaging in despite repeated Chinese denials, according to Bloomberg.

Jianghua allegedly recruited a former BASF employee to oversee the operation, who himself recruited several BASF engineers along with one senior manager who stayed on at BASF to provide continued information, according to Lu.

Nauru president in Taiwan for 5-day visit

President Baron Waqa of Nauru, one of Taiwan’s 17 remaining diplomatic allies, arrived in the country on Monday for a five-day state visit.

Waqa will attend a state banquet hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and travel to Taichung to tour the city’s Flora Expo, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). He will also visit Kaohsiung to observe the city’s port and harbor construction.

Waqa last visited Taiwan on a transit stop in May 2018 after attending a meeting of Pacific Island leaders in Japan.

Waqa won hearts in Taiwan in September 2018 when he demanded China apologize for the “arrogant” and “crazy” behavior of a senior envoy at the annual Pacific Islands Forum held in Nauru, which Taiwan helped fund despite being excluded from participating due to the wishes of China.

“They're not our friends. They just need us for their own purposes,” Waqa said of China at the forum. “We’re seeing a lot of big countries coming in and sometimes buying their way through the Pacific, some are extremely aggressive, even to the point that they tread all over us … From this forum, all leaders [now] know how arrogant some of these people are.”


Credit: Taiwan Presidential Office

Nauru President Baron Waqa (L) on a previous state visit to Taiwan, May 21, 2016.

Chiang Wan-an supports Tsai’s ‘Four Musts’

Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安), the grandson of former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), reiterated his opposition to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “one country, two systems” framework on Monday.

Chiang first expressed his opposition to Xi’s model last Thursday and also gave his support to Tsai Ing-wen’s “Four Musts” for cross-Strait relations.

His comments come as the KMT has struggled to find its own narrative on its interpretation of the so-called “1992 Consensus,” which it has long insisted allows the Republic of China (ROC) to have its own interpretation of what “one China” means.

Former KMT central policy committee director Alex Tsai (蔡正元) told the Taipei Times Chiang’s comments in support of Tsai amounted to “classic inexperience and naivety.”

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Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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