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Ex-Motorola employee charged with espionage after attempt to sell trade secrets to China

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:35PM EST

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Former Motorola software engineer Hanjuan Jin, a 41-year old naturalized United States citizen, is standing trial for stealing trade secrets from Motorola with plans to sell the documents to the Chinese military and to Kai Sun News Technology Co. According to Bloomberg, Jin was randomly stopped at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2007 as she tried to flee the United States with a one-way ticket to China, $30,000 in cash and more than a thousand private documents that belonged to Motorola.

“The defendant has a job waiting for her, a job in China with a company that provides cellular technology to the Chinese military,” prosecutor Christopher Stetler said. Jin’s defense has argued that the documents Jin stole were not valuable to the company, which has since split into two separate entities, Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility. She stole secrets related to iDEN push-to-talk technology, but defense lawyer Beth Westman Gaus has described the technology as “obsolete.”

Jin is not alone when it comes to corporate espionage on behalf of China. According to a report issued by the United States Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, “Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage.” Motorola Solutions is also suing Jin for working at a competitor while she was employed by the Illinois-based company.

“Motorola Solutions has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation and prosecution of this case and continues to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice,” Motorola Solutions spokesperson Nicholas Sweers said in a statement.