Huawei sacks employee arrested on spying charges in Poland

Local offices of Huawei in Warsaw
Local offices of Huawei in Warsaw Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Pascale Davies with Reuters
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Poland arrested a Chinese employee of Huawei and a Polish national on charges of spying on Friday, amid increasing criticism of the telecoms equipment maker.


Chinese tech giant Huawei said it had terminated the employment of a Chinese worker arrested on spying allegations on Saturday. 

Polish authorities detained Wang Weijing and a former Polish security official, who reportedly worked for Orange Polska, on charges of spying for Beijing on Friday, according to local media.

The Chinese telecoms equipment maker said in a statement that its employee’s alleged actions “have no relation to the company”. 

TV channel TVP reported the two individuals were arrested on Tuesday after the Huawei and Orange Polska offices were searched.

“ABW (Internal Security Agency) officials conducted actions, as a result of which, we handed over belongings of one of our employees," Orange Polska said in a statement.

Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesperson for the Polish security services told Reuters the country’s Internal Security Agency (ISA) detained the men over spying allegations and that they have heard charges and will be held for three months.

Both men deny the charges.

'Huawei complies with all applicable laws'

Zaryn said the investigation focused on the two individuals and not on the companies they worked for but the detentions come amid the Chinese tech company coming under western scrutiny for being linked to China's government and having equipment which could contain 'backdoors' for use by government spies.

No evidence has publically been produced over Huawei using such equipment.

Huawei said in a statement: "We are aware of the situation, and we are looking into it. We have no comment for the time being. 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."

Ties between the US and China have become increasingly strained since Canadian authorities arrested a Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, in December at the request of US authorities.

The detention came as part of an investigation into alleged violations of US trade sanctions.

The White House has already banned the US government from buying equipment from Huawei and ZTE. Reports also surfaced last month that US President Donald Trump is considering signing another executive order to ban US companies from using Chinese-made telecommunications equipment.

Relations between the two countries may be further strained depending "on whether Beijing believes that the US was somehow involved in Poland's actions rather than something they (Poland) did independently", Alma Angotti, managing director at Washington-based firm Navigant Consulting told Euronews.

National security in focus

The repercussions on the Chinese company could be significant as more countries could prohibit the sale of Huawei's equipment over national security concerns. However, Angotti said that would be "the most extreme situation".

The arrests could also cause European countries to become increasingly wary of Chinese-made technology. The latest development in Poland comes weeks after the UK announced it is investigating its reliance on Chinese-manufactured telecommunications equipment, particularly in the "core" of its 5G infrastructure.

Britain's BT group announced that it would remove Huawei equipment from its existing 3G and 4G networks as well as from a network service designed for Britain's emergency services including police forces and ambulances.

For Angotti, the latest development is proof that "a lot of countries are now focusing on a very broad view of their national security, beyond traditional weapons and borders.


"Now, they're really focusing on the technology capabilities globally", she said.

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