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back to article Ford secrets thief caught red handed with stolen blueprints

A veteran auto-plant worker faces an extended spell behind bars after pleading guilty last week to stealing industrial secrets, including design blueprints, from car maker Ford and passing them on to a Chinese rival. Xiang Dong ("Mike") Yu, 49, a product engineer at Ford for 10 years between 1997 and 2007, admitted copying …

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Anonymous Coward

Yu was remanded in custody

Surely "Yu were remanded in custody"

Ah, no, wait.....

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Big Brother

Terrorist Watch List

"....was put on a watch list and arrested during a stopover at Chicago in October 2009"

Why was he put on a watch list in the first place? Did Ford know he copied documents when he left or is this the normal process for treating ex-pats returning home...put them on the Terrorist Watch List and use that as an excuse to look at their HD?

Something doesn't add up in the article.

And why was he on the Terrorist Watch List...oh, I forgot, scope creep...It isn't used for that any more.

And why is Sadam Hussein still on it?

And Senator Ted Kennedy (RIP)?

And Nelson Mandela was on it!

Anon....because Big Brother is watching and I don't want to be on it.

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well duh

He's on a watch list because the Feds can't extradite him from China.

So they just wait till he visits or transits the US, and grab him then. No different to any other country.

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Unhappy

watch list

OK, so fair enough on your comments regarding the general abuse, and therefor uselessness of the watch lists.

However, I will say referring to my other comment, there is so much history of corporate theft from China and Chinese Americans in general that it would make sense to me to watch any of them that travel back and forth, especially when they work for an American company and then for a Chinese competitor.

And the US partner involvement mentioned in the article doesn't mean squat, they have a minority interest as per Chinese law the majority of the company must be owned by the Chinese People (dictators of the state anyways).

So how to draw the line, I think the US openness is a strength, and that other countries will eventually suffer for their xenophobia. I don't want to single out particular people, but America has 3 main enemies as far as spying is concerned for the last few decades: Russia, China, and Israel are behind the MAJORITY of the "caught" spies in the last era. Granted this is just the ones we have caught. Russia remains our paper enemy, but Israel and China seem to enjoy a unshakable position of favored power with our politicians.

In the next elections we should all be asking where our politicians stand on defending American from spies and corporate espionage... its really here that we loose the war on knowledge, and start having to bow down to some superior force in the future.

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Bronze badge

Maybe Hussein is still on it because

The CIA secretly (or secretedly) believes in life after death? Apparently, it's not enough to hang or execute or push/shove a target "from a height of 80 feet to assure death" anymore.

Either that, or they don't know how many exist of each "model"...

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Not *Terrorist* Watch List

Immigration's watch lists are not specifically *terrorist* watch lists. They specifically contain people the government is *watching* for. Clearly Ford and the US Government had good reason to suspect this person an on entry to the US he proved them correct.

As for "watching", this person is not a US citizen and is therefore fair game.

6 years isn't long enough. Should be at least one year per document.

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Stop

Terrorist Watch List

Nowhere in the article did it say terrorist watch lists.

There are many different watch lists, for terrorists, known criminals, people not allowed to leave the country for other reasons...

A perfect example is when there is a divorce between a couple where one of the couple has a different/dual citizenship. It's been know for the partner with a foreign citizenship to leave the country taking the children with them against the wishes of the other partner. Therefore in these types of situations the children themselves could be put on a watch list such that they can't leave the country unless accompanied by both parents, to prevent them being whisked away outside the jurisdiction of the US divorce proceedings.

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Joke

Perhaps Hussein is still on it because...

he is still alive, hiding in the attic of a house built by an American contractor who violated sanctions and illegally built houses in Iraq.

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Terrorist Watch List...

Don't know about the UK, but in the US for a child under the age of 16, both parents must consent to the issuance of a child's passport. If one parent can't appear with the other parent AND the child to apply for the passport, the absent parent must complete a consent form, have it notarized, and the applying parent must present that with the child's application. The reason for having the form notarized is to (hopefully) prevent someone acting as a ringer for the absent parent and forging the signature, since the person whose consent is being notarized must provide identification, and in some states sign a journal and may be required to provide a thumbprint. As a Notary Public, I require all persons signing my journal to provide a thumbprint, even though state law does not require it; just an extra safety precaution. The Department of State also maintains a list of children for whom one or both parents have requested the child not be issued a passport without their consent, as in the case of a foreign born parent who might try to take the child back to their homeland. Note, I processed passport applications for over ten years when I worked for the US Post Office

Further, the airlines will generally not allow a child to leave the country unless accompanied by both parents unless the absent parent has given the parent traveling with the child a consent form approving the travel, which form must be notarized.

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Stop

Single parent travelling with children are automatically blocked

Airlines require a parent travelling alone with children to supply a notarised / sworn statement stating that a given person has permission to travel with the named child(ren). This has to be signed by both parents if married or the parent having been awarded custody in a separation or divorce.

Actually this is a requirement for anyone crossing borders with children.

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Thumb Down

meanwhile back in the real world

meanwhile back in the real world, none of the above happens.

My 3 yo has made a few flights to the uk when we have been abroad with his nanna, who had a letter detailing the above. Never on any occasion has she ever been asked for it.

Meanwhile we've drove the chunnel and ferries maybe 20-30 times since they arrived, rarely with more than one parent onboard and the same story.

Nice theory, but that's all it is.

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encrypted the disk

He should have encrypted the disk. They would have never got the info.

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Silver badge

fail - dodged

wtf?

copying american car designs?

why?

like copying french assault plans or a british menu.

narrow escapre for the peoples car plants

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Anonymous Coward

Ford make great cars

I had a Ford Focus, it was great!

Ok, so it was designed in Germany. And it died after 9 years. But still!

Maybe the Chinese wanted to know how NOT to design a car? Maybe the plans explained that the frame was not made of a sheet of steel, but from a big flattened marshmallow? And that the steering wheel was not connected to the wheels at all, directly or indirectly? You'd certainly learn a lot from that.

"like copying french assault plans"

I've bought a copy of the plan fro the Battle of Hastlings. Cost me a fortune. worth every penny :p

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FAIL

Watch list

*A* watch list. There's other lists, like for international art thieves, Nazis, escappees, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

You missed some

Tanned, wears a turban, InStr(x,"hamed")>0, and copied a music CD. Maybe all of those are merged in the terrorist list.

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Thumb Up

LMAO!

"Xiang Dong ("Mike") Yu, 49"

Mike Dong?

How does Xiang become Mike as a nickname?

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

title

especially if his buddies could've just called him "Hey, Yu!"

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Coat

I'm guessing

he didn't like the J-Lo/LiLo/etc tradition which would have tagged him as "SheDoo" (if I have my Chinese pronunciation correct, and I probably don't). I'd choose boring over a nickname falling somewhere between a cartoon heroine and a recreational winter vehicle any day of the week.

Paris, because hers (spoken very quickly) would sound like "pie".

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Anonymous Coward

How does Xiang become Mike as a nickname?

What's your Chinese name?

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Anonymous Coward

@Tigra 07

> Mike Dong? How does Xiang become Mike as a nickname?

Perhaps by the magic of arbitrariness.

Maybe you would have preferred his nickname to have been 'Ding'?

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Thumb Up

RE: AC

Well Ding Dong does have a nice ring/dong to it

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Bronze badge

@Terrorist Watch List

Um now were does it say that he was put on a Terrorist Watch List ? It might surprise you that the feds have more than one kind of list .

@How does Xiang become Mike as a nickname? Simple he picked an American sounding name .

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Re. Yu was remanded in custody

I thought the surname came first in Chinese names, so Xiang was remanded in custody.

Or was he actually called Yu Xiang Dong, hence Mike Yu?

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FAIL

Where have I heard this before?

Oh, yeah, right:

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&id=6410809

which resulted in this:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/07/21/motorola-sues-huawei-and-several-former-employees-for-stealing-w/

There was also this:

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=83759.10;wap2

Seems like there is quite a business culture forming around the premise "If you can't beat 'em, steal their stuff" going on.

I worked at Motorola at the time Jin tried to board the plane. If she hadn't been a complete dolt about it, she would have gotten away with it. However, she drew suspicion for getting only a one-way ticket, and having all the data on a bunch of thumb drives - on her person. If she had been even remotely competent (mailing the drives to China, maybe?), she's safely in China right now.

For every one that is caught, one has to wonder how many (actually competent) spies are getting away with their activities.

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Joke

Nickname

@Tigra07: "How does Xiang become Mike as a nickname?"

Because you round-eyes have trouble pronouncing (and spelling) "Xiang".

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Headmaster

In my youth

I was a student at a British university with a lot of HK Chinese students.

They actually had a list of English names that they circulated between them before getting on the plane, and chose one they liked.

They did this as they found that the average English speaker at the time (25 years ago) could quite easily mangle most Cantonese or Mandarin first names to the point of pain.

Sounds like the same list is still doing the rounds at the language schools

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FAIL

Sounds like?

The perp has been stealing while on salary? Fail icon for him.

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FAIL

dumbass ?

"His Beijing Automotive-issued laptop was seized. Later forensic examination uncovered 41 stolen Ford specification documents on the hard drive."

more to the point.... what a dumbass having ford prints on the laptop....

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Flame

So he stole "what NOT to do" when building a car....

Flame icon for the Camaro where the power brakes/ABS failed and put me into the armco.

While he was in there, he should have been useful and stolen the list of undocumented trouble codes (but he would have probably needed a much larger disk...)

Man, I *SO* wanted GM & Ford to go permanently bankrupt.... SOOO badly....

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Thumb Down

The company that SHOULDA gone bust...

...Chrysler. What an abomination of a car company.

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Silver badge
WTF?

More planning needed: and you think Americans and British don't spy?

This sloppy handling of allegedly stolen data is more indicative that it was was an individual initiative rather than an organised spy ring. No sane person would return carrying purloined goods - besides since the engineer carrier a corporate computer, who knows where the data actually came from. Mind you, downloading stuff on the eve of your departure is kind of dumb.

Diplomatic courier systems are used to carry information in and out which further suggests it was not officially condoned or supported.

I have been involved in the design of equipment in years past and I have the software work as well as incomplete finished physical product in my possession still. I wasn't stealing anything more that it was to illustrate my abilities/accomplishments - the design evolved within me so it would be hard to steal.

Some of the product knowledge is still valid and should I work for a competitor it is nigh on impossible not to transfer ideas or information.

And if you think the Americans or British are innocents in these matters, think again. 20-30 years ago my work took me to 'interesting' destinations and on many occasions some character(s) would later appear, after our corporate reports had been submitted, and question us on what appeared bizarre subjects and only later, when the dots were connected, did we surmise what the interests were. When asked by immigration: "Where did you visit" isn't such an innocent question. "All over" is a good but meaningless response. Equally: "What was the purpose of your visit" - tourism is a good answer!

On fewer occasions we had pre-trip briefings where this odd job character would suggest we take an interest in various non-work related matters.

This is standard practice. Where my home is physically located is of interest to the Americans (think human rights) and whilst their embassy guys require permission and escorts to visit the area at certain times of interest, I get to roam free as a resident.

I have been asked for soil and vegetation samples and even for small scraps of metal - I can, now, figure out why. Also electrical & communication cables, antennae, etc.

In industry, many companies offer competitors sample products at near cost prices, if not free. All car companies buy 'samples' for tear down whether for patent infringement or to learn of new manufacturing techniques.

Older readers might recall Greville Wynne; how about Denis Sugrue - see < http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Galway-businessman-says-US-considers-him-a-spy-102846919.html >.

Likely the only reason the Americans are highlighting this case is as a warning to other would-be spies.

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Black Helicopters

Beijing Automotive Laptop Seized

Wonder how many of their blueprints where on the laptop and now in the hands of Ford.

And Fiat etc. (i mean Fiat blueprints also on the seized laptop)

I'm sure that wouldn't happen, would it ?

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Megaphone

Fiat?

"Wonder how many of their blueprints where on the laptop and now in the hands of Ford.

And Fiat etc. (i mean Fiat blueprints also on the seized laptop)"

You would have to be mental to want Fiat blueprints! It would be like stealing details of the rust proofing system on an Austin Metro.

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Boffin

Fiat may be many things

But they certainly sold many designs into the Eastern Bloc, and by the wonders of being cheap to buy , across most of the world.

Fiat 124: Original Lada (VAZ2101)

Fiat 125: Polski Fiat 125p

Fiat 126: FSM Polski Fiat 126 Bis

Fiat 127: Yugo 55

The fact the payment for licencing the designs was large quantities of poor quality Russian Steel, in retrospect probably wasn't the best business decision

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