Six employees of leading local smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電), including vice president of product design Chien Chih-lin (簡志霖), were indicted by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday on charges of leaking trade secrets and breach of trust.
Three of HTC’s suppliers were also indicted for alledgedly helping HTC design executives make false expense claims of more than NT$33 million (US$1.1 million).
Prosecutors said Chien and HTC research and development director Wu Chien-hung (吳建弘), both detained since Aug. 31, planned to open phone design companies in Taiwan and China. They were planning to cooperate with Chinese local governments to start companies and transfer HTC technology, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Chien stole and leaked key designs to his would-be Chinese business partners in Beijing in June. The designs were for a yet-to-be-unveiled HTC smartphone interface.
Chien’s actions were in violation of Article 13 of the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法) that bans stealing or unauthorized reproduction, revelation and use of key corporate business secrets, the indictment said.
The indictment added that Chien had colluded with Wu to defraud the company of NT$33.566 million by using fake invoices to inflate their expenses and by demanding rebates from HTC’s suppliers.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty for Chien, saying he showed no remorse during the investigation, putting forward specious arguments in an attempt to justify his illegal actions.
The other four employees who were indicted are HTC senior manager of design and innovation Huang Kuo-ching (黃國清), senior manager of design and innovation Huang Hung-yi (黃弘毅), manufacturing design department manager Hung Chung-yi (洪琮鎰) and Chen Shih-tsou (陳枻佐), a rank-and-file employee.
All of them, except Hung Chung-yi, confessed to breaking the law in a remorseful manner and the court should be lenient with them, prosecutors said.
In light of Huang Kuo-ching and Huang Hung-yi having settled their dispute with HTC and have been forgiven by the company, prosecutors recommended suspended sentences for the pair.
Prosecutors suggested lenient sentences for the three materials suppliers, saying they were remorseful and very cooperative during the investigation.
Meanwhile, Chien’s actions also constituted a breach of trust as stipulated in the Securities and Exchange Act (證券交易法), which carries a prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years.
The HTC case is the first of its kind since the Trade Secrets Act was revised earlier this year.
Under the revised law, the penalty for leaking corporate trade secrets to China or other countries is one to 10 years in prison and a fine of between NT$3 million and NT$50 million. If the illegal gains in a case surpass NT$50 million, the fine can be two to 10 times the amount of the gains.
“The company expects employees to observe and practice the highest levels of integrity and ethics,” HTC said in a statement. “Protecting the company’s proprietary and intellectual properties, privacy and security is a core fundamental responsibility of every employee. The company does not condone any violation.”
Additional reporting by Rich Chang
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit