Poland arrests Huawei employee for alleged spying

WARSAW • Poland has arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national involved in cyber business on allegations of spying, local media reported yesterday, deepening the controversy over Western criticism of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker.

US intelligence agencies allege Huawei Technologies is linked to China's government and that its equipment could contain "backdoors" for use by government spies.

No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the claims. But the criticism has led several Western countries and companies to look into whether they should allow Huawei's equipment to be used in their telecoms networks, straining relations with Beijing.

Polish public TV channel TVP said security services had searched the local offices of Huawei, as well as the offices of telecoms firm Orange Polska, where it said the Polish national works.

China's Foreign Ministry said it was "greatly concerned" by the reports, and urged Poland to handle the case "justly".

"We are aware of the situation, and we are looking into it. We have no comment for the time being," Huawei said in a statement, adding: "Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based."

Orange Polska said in a statement that the security agency had on Tuesday gathered materials related to an employee, whom it did not identify. The company added that it did not know if the investigation was linked to the employee's professional work, and that it would continue to cooperate with the authorities.

 

TVP said the security services searched the offices of Poland's telecoms regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications, but the regulator denied this.

Last December, Canada arrested top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, at the behest of the US authorities as part of an investigation into alleged violations of US trade sanctions, raising tensions with China amid a broader ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Poland arrests Huawei employee for alleged spying'. Print Edition | Subscribe