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Couple booked for stealing trade secrets for UN bids

Feb. 28, 2012 - 14:43 By Korea Herald
A couple has been booked without detention by police here for stealing trade secrets from a Korean company and gaining advantages in contract bids with the United Nations, officials said Tuesday.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, a Chinese woman and her Korean husband had spent the last four years stealing industrial and trade secrets from a tent manufacturing company here.

The victimized manufacturing company had been the first Korean company to secure contracts for U.N. Peaceckeeping, by providing military hangars and barrack tents.

Police report that the 35-year-old Ryu entered the manufacturing company in 2007 and stole contract and bid information using an USB thumb drive till 2010.

On 18 separate occasions she took information, including technological proposals, pricing information, and manufacturing technology, said police. The report explained that Ryu was entrusted with overseas operational information at the company, which manufactures in China, because she spoke both Korean and Chinese.

Ryu continued to steal secrets after leaving the company by using other coworkers’ login information.

Ryu and her 36-year-old husband then opened up their own company within the country and after placing nine bids, they successfully received two contracts totaling 400 million won ($355,000).

“The victimized company is stating that its total losses are 30 billion won,” said a police official.

“They are claiming that the amount accounts for any future losses incurred by Ryu’s company.”

In a report earlier in the month, police found that most trade secrets going abroad end up in China.

Police report that the most common methods of selling trade secrets involved storage devices including USB thumbdrives, hard disks and smartphones.

Many cases involve employees taking company secrets with them after resigning.

By Robert Lee