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Gov't to strengthen punishment against SME technology theft

All Headlines 14:32 April 06, 2016

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- The government said Wednesday that it will take tough action against the stealing of technology owned by small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), as related damage has continued to increase in recent years.

Under a set of punitive measures, the government will force people or companies that maliciously leak or steal technology and know-how from SMEs to give compensation of upwards to three times the size of the damages incurred.

Also, the government said it will increase fines slapped on people and firms that steal technology from SMEs. The max fine for international technology theft will be marked up from 100 million won (US$87,000) to 1 billion won, while those slapped on domestic theft will be set at 500 million won compared to 50 million won in the past.

The set of measures was drawn up during a government meeting presided over by Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

"The government will stay at the forefront to root out illegal theft of technology from SMEs," Hwang said, ordering law enforcement agencies to cooperate to better investigate such cases.

Under the measure, task forces investigating cases concerning industry technology leaks will be set up at 17 provisional police agencies across the country.

The move comes after a recent report showed that the total amount of losses incurred by SMEs due to technology leaks has steadily increased from 2.51 billion won in 2012 to 3.74 billion won in 2015.

Also, attempted theft of industry secrets by foreign countries has grown, with SMEs falling prey due to weaker security awareness and lack of resources to invest in advanced security systems, the report said.

khj@yna.co.kr
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