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Suspected of Leaking Secrets to China, Six BASF Employees Arrested in Taiwan

An official of the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau, headquartered in Taipei, said on Monday, January 7, that Taiwan is investigating allegations that six current and former employees of the German chemical company BASF allegedly leaked trade secrets. BASF headquarters said it has taken steps to support the law enforcement investigations in Taiwan.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau said in a statement that one of the executives was suspected of stealing electronic processing technology, among other trade secrets, and leaking and selling it at a high price to a Chinese competitor.

BASF said that, among those under investigation, only one person is a current employee. All contacts with the suspects have now been cut. According to BASF, steps have been taken to support local law enforcement officials immediately in their investigations and to protect important information. Both BASF and Taiwan authorities refused to provide data on possible economic losses.

The incident came at a time when German political and industrial circles are showing deep concern about industrial espionage.

In November last year, Reuters reported that the German prosecutor pressed a charge against a former employee of the German chemical company Lanxess, accusing him of stealing trade secrets and replicating a chemical reactor in China.

Authorities in Taiwan and the United States have accused Chinese companies of stealing intellectual property, including chip secrets, for their semiconductor industry. Taiwan is determined to defend the chip industry as one of its economic pillars; it has set strict regulations and penalty measures for industrial espionage.

Source: Deutsche Welle Chinese Channel, January 7, 2019