Updated Jan.16,2006 20:00 KST

Attempt to Steal Vital Korean LCD Technology Foiled

Industrial Espionage Prevention Is a Key Investment
A former employee with Samsung Electronics has been arrested on charges of industrial espionage in the attempt to set up on his own in China using cutting-edge liquid crystal display technology stolen from his former employer. Besides spiriting away thin-film transistor LCD technology used to produce computer monitors and cell phone and TV screens, the man identified as Park is also charged with trying to poach Samsung research staff.

Prosecutors applied for an arrest warrant on Monday against Park on suspicion of trying to set up a TFT-LCD color filter factory in Shenzhen, China. They also booked another former Samsung employee identified as Bae and a current researcher with the firm on related charges without detention.

Park is accused of conspiring with Bae in March 2004 to obtain nine confidential documents about production of TFT-LCDs and receiving another document from the researcher in September last year, prosecutors said. They are also investigating suspicions that Park tried to lure 10 former and current Samsung R&D staff with the promise of high salaries.

Samsung Electronics spent some W260 billion (US$260 million) on R&D for the TFT-LCD core technology, and its theft could have caused it some W5 trillion ($5 billion) in losses over the next five years, the National Intelligence Service said. The agency says it prevented losses of W35.5 trillion by uncovering 29 cases of industrial espionage in 2005 alone.

(englishnews@chosun.com )

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