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(Japanese Site)

  • Corporate Espionage Rises as Layoffs Increase
  • February 5, 1998 (SEOUL) -- With more and more Korean workers being "honorably retired" recently, threatened employees are gathering corporate secrets, hoping to sell them to their competitors for a cash reward after they are laid off, industry sources said. Some even are using the information to set up their own companies.

    These collections of corporate secrets, referred to in Korean as "retirement papers," may contain proprietary information ranging anywhere from key technological know-how and management strategy to a detailed list of major clients.

    The most striking example of this trend took place on Tuesday, when 16 former and current employees of Samsung and LG electronics corporations were arrested on charges of leaking core technological knowhow regarding third-generation 64Mb DRAMs to Taiwan.

    "The event is only the tip of the iceberg," said a source at Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. "All of Korea's major corporations are struggling to keep their key knowhow from being leaked, and there is no guarantee that such an incident will not take place again."

    A president of a Korean venture capital firm said he has been receiving a rising number of offers from former chaebol group researchers for the purchase of core technology.

    "Korean researchers have the mistaken belief that newly-developed technology belongs to them rather than to the company that hired them and funded the research for the technology," said Byun Dae- kyu, president of Humax Corp., a Korean venture capital firm.

    (Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea)

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    Updated: Wed Feb 4 16:42:51 1998