Chinese theft charges
Zhang Weiqiang, 47, of Manhattan, Kan., and Yan Wengui, 63, of Stuttgart, Ark., were charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas Barry Grissom.
Grissom’s office explained that the U.S. company patented technology used to create seeds containing recombinant proteins and “has an extensive intellectual property portfolio of more than 100 issued and pending patents and exclusive licenses to issue patents.”
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found stolen seeds in the luggage of a group of visitors from China who were about to return home on Aug. 7 of this year, according to papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas,” Gillam reported.
The group had visited various agricultural facilities and universities in the Midwest, as well as the Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center in Stuttgart, Ark.
According to the complaint, Zhang and Yan, both citizens of the People’s Republic of China, had arranged for the Chinese delegation to visit the U.S. last summer and gave them the stolen seeds that were ultimately intercepted.
Grissom’s office filed charges that carry a penalty of a maximum 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
No comments by the defendants had been issued at press time.