Tuesday, December 19, 2006, 12/19/2006 07:52:00 AM

Federal Prosecutors Get First Foreign Government-Connected Economic Espionage Convictions

From the Fresno Bee, a story concerning what may be a harbinger of things to come, the government's "first-ever convictions for economic espionage to benefit a foreign nation." Two Silicon Valley engineers, Fei Ye (a U.S. citizen from China) and Ming Zhong (a permanent resident of the U.S. from China) pled guilty in federal court in San Jose to two counts each of stealing trade secrets and trying to smuggle them to China.

We've reported earlier on the case here.

According to the Bee, "Ye and Zhong were accused of stealing confidential microchip blueprints and other trade secrets from four technology companies - NEC Electronics Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Transmeta Corp. and Trident Microsystems Inc. - and planning to start a microprocessor company with the financial backing of various Chinese government agencies."

And:

The pair were arrested in 2001 at San Francisco International Airport, attempting to board a flight to China. According to the indictment, their luggage was crammed with thousands of pages of documents stolen from their former employers, including schematic drawings of computer chips under development, internal instructions for the design and layout of circuits and components and other confidential information.

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