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Poland charges Huawei worker with spying for China

Updated January 12, 2019

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Huawei is a leader in the development of next-generation “5G” mobile networks but a US dispute with China over its ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe. — File
Huawei is a leader in the development of next-generation “5G” mobile networks but a US dispute with China over its ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe. — File

WARSAW: Poland has arrested a Chinese manager at tech giant Huawei in Poland and one of its own former counter-espionage officers and charged them with spying on Poland for China, state television and officials reported on Friday.

The two men were arrested on Tuesday, according to Poland’s Internal Security Agency. Polish security agents also searched the Warsaw offices of Huawei and Orange, Poland’s leading communications provider, where the former Polish spy recently worked, seizing documents and electronic data. The homes of both men, also in Warsaw, were also searched, according to agency spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn.

Huawei is a leader in the development of next-generation “5G” mobile networks and a key player in building them in Europe. But a US dispute with China over its ban on Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company’s biggest foreign market.

Maciej Wasik, deputy head of Poland’s Special Services agency, said the operation that resulted in the arrests of the two suspects had been underway for a long time. He said “both carried out espionage activities against Poland”.

Zaryn said that prosecutors have charged the two men with espionage, but that agents are continuing to collect evidence and interview witnesses, including sorting through what was seized earlier this week. Further indictments are expected, he said.

“It’s not the beginning of this case but it’s also not the end,” he said. He also said no further details would be released now about the case because it is classified and the investigation is ongoing.

If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison each. TVP, which is government-controlled media, identified the arrested Chinese man as Weijing W., saying he was a director in Poland at Huawei. It said the man also went by the Polish first name of Stanislaw and had previously worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk.

A LinkedIn profile for a man named Stanislaw Wang appears to match details of the man described by Polish television. Wang’s resume said he worked at China’s General Consulate in Gdansk from 2006-2011 and at Huawei Enterprise Poland since 2011, where he was first director of public affairs and since 2017 the “sales director of public sector.” The resume said he received a bachelor’s degree in 2004 from the Beijing University of Foreign Studies.

State TV identified the Polish man as Piotr D., and said he was a high-ranking employee at the Internal Security Agency until 2011, where he served as deputy director in the department of information security.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2019