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
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55