Will South Korea tighten sanctions for trade secret thieves targeting China?

TIME.CO, JakartaSouth Korea he said he would tighten penalties for theft of trade secrets. The statement comes amid concerns that current regulations aren’t strong enough to stop technology leak attempts by companies like Samsung.

South Korea has cracked down on tech leaks in recent months in a bid to maintain its edge in memory chips and displays over its competitors.

South Korea’s Sentencing Commission, overseen by Korea’s Supreme Court, decided this month to toughen sentences and extend prison sentences for leaking South Korean technology.

This statement came from the Ministry of Industry on Monday, August 28, 2023, as quoted by Reuters. Details regarding the new ruling guidelines are expected early next year.

South Korea’s Ministry of Industry did not specify which countries were the targets. But analysts say China is the destination for most of South Korea’s tech leaks.

South Korea’s sanctions for technology leakage are similar to those of other countries, including prison terms of five years or more for technology leakage that “has had a significant impact on national security and the economy”. However, in practice, this fine has not been imposed due to conditions that are difficult to meet.

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The law requires the prosecutor to prove the suspect’s intentions

The previous rule required prosecutors to demonstrate a suspect’s intent to divulge secrets for an act to be punishable as divulging underlying technology. This led to acquittals in 30% of cases and replies in 54% of cases in South Korean courts.

Rules to stop technology leaks that don’t exist yet. Leaks related to the purchase of a South Korean company by a foreign private equity fund will also be included in a revised bill to be submitted to parliament, the ministry said.

South Korean police said in June that they had arrested 77 people in 35 suspected cases espionage sector covered by a national survey in the last four months.

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