Hmmm: Huawei exec arrested for espionage in Poland

Nellie Chapman
January 13, 2019

Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei says it has sacked a Chinese employee who was arrested on spying charges in Poland, as the company sought to distance itself from the incident.

The development comes as a US dispute with China over a ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's biggest foreign market, where some countries are also starting to shun its network systems over data security concerns.

Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei would be open to using only New Zealanders rather than Chinese workers to build 5G mobile networks here, if that helped assuage spying concerns, a local representative says.

Chinese telecoms company Huawei has sacked an employee arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying.

Recently, the Canadian government launched a new security assessment of Huawei's 5G technology a year ago, and at least two large Canadian operators have indicated that they will launch small-scale investigations.

Orange has worked closely with Huawei to install 5G infrastructures.

Zaryn told The Associated Press that prosecutors have charged the two men with espionage, but agents are continuing to collect evidence and interview witnesses.

China's Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the case and is urging Poland to handle the case "justly".

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TVP identified the arrested Chinese man as Weijing W., saying he was a sales director in Poland at Huawei.

A high ranking Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was also arrested by Canadian authorities in December 2018, at the request of the U.S. authorities.

"We have no comment for the time being", Huawei said in a statement. Western intelligence officials have raised concerns Beijing could use the company's equipment for espionage.

New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. have all barred the company from involvement in their national 5G networks. The company said it abides by applicable laws wherever it operates and expects employees to do the same.

However, a spokesman for the Polish security services told Reuters the allegations related to individual actions, and were not linked directly to Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd.

The new arrests came about a month after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.

The US blocked Huawei from operating in its territory in 2012, when a House Intelligence Committee report said it was a security risk.

"Huawei's biggest challenge is to prove to its partners across the world that the quality of its cyber-security services is second to none and that there's no possibility of backdoor intrusion", said Ghernatoui at the Swiss Cybersecurity Advisory and Research Group.

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