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Huawei employee, ex-security agent arrested in Poland on spying charges

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Huawei employee, ex-security agent arrested in Poland on spying charges

A Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. employee and a former Polish security services officer have been arrested in Poland on spying allegations, the Financial Times reported Jan. 11, citing local TV broadcaster Telewizja Polska S.A.

Weijing W, a Chinese national and sales director at the Shenzhen-based telecom group in Poland, and Piotr D, an ex-security agent, were arrested recently for "conducting spying activities against Poland," according to Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesperson for Poland's minister for special services. The two individuals will reportedly be held under arrest for three months and face up to 10 years in prison, if found guilty.

Polish security services are said to have searched the offices of Huawei, French telecom giant Orange SA and Poland's Office of Electronic Communications, according to media reports. A representative at Orange said in an interview that they were aware of the situation but were not immediately able to comment, while Huawei spokesperson Cheryl Xu said the company was looking into it.

"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,” Xu said.

A spokesperson at Poland's Office of Electronic Communications, meanwhile, denied claims that their offices had been searched. Press officer Martin Stysiak did confirm that Piotr D had worked at the agency between 2012 and 2016, most recently as a director in the department responsible for monitoring the Polish telecom market.

The events in Poland follow a global backlash against Huawei's technology over fears it could be used by the Chinese government for espionage. The concerns were brought into sharper focus by Canadian official's arrest of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 for allegedly violating sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. has had restrictions on federal use of Huawei's services since August 2018. New Zealand and Australia followed by blacklisting all use of the company's equipment in the rollout of next-generation 5G infrastructure. Japan is also reportedly eyeing a government ban. While the U.K. government has not imposed any restrictions on Huawei, it earlier identified national security risks associated with Huawei's role in the country's 5G rollout.

In a recent statement, Huawei's rotating chairman dismissed global concerns about its equipment as a temporary obstacle.

"Setbacks will only make us more courageous, and incredibly unfair treatment will drive us to become the world's number one," Chairman Guo Ping said, adding that Huawei would use "the certainty of legal compliance to deal with the uncertainty of international politics."