SEOUL, March 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Reports of an arrest of a South Korean researcher who leaked confidential technology for a washing machine motor have been met with fierce criticism online, with many accusing the leaker of treason.
The South Korean researcher, whose name is being withheld, was arrested for leaking a design blueprint and confidential technology for a high-efficiency washing machine motor, according to the international criminal investigation unit at the Gyeongnam Provincial Police Agency on Tuesday.
The researcher in question, who used to work at a China-based research center of a South Korean company, was promised an annual salary of 160 million won, a house and a car from a Chinese company before conspiring with other colleagues to help the competitor produce a similar washing machine motor.
The story has since drawn strong condemnation from online communities, with accusations of treason leveled against the disgraced researcher.
“In this day and age, this type of behavior is treason,” one Naver user said in a comment.
“It’s baffling that valuable homegrown South Korean technology was sold like this. We need to publish this story in a textbook to set an example for the next generations,” another comment read.
While some drew links between criminal technology leaks and lack of jobs for young people in South Korea, others looked inward, directing criticism at the toxic culture of treating engineers like dirt.
“If the finance department calls the shots and engineers are treated like mere handymen, these types of leaks will continue. Instead of criticizing leakers as traitors, we need to create a system where engineers are treated fairly.”
Last November, the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency launched a committee dedicated to the protection of industry security amid growing threats of trade secret theft from foreign competitors.
Consisting of local SME representatives, university professors and lawyers, the committee was tasked with holding regular meetings to discuss ways to deter technology leaks.
“Over 90 percent of technology theft cases target small and medium sized enterprises with weak security,” an official at the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency said.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)