In the latest installment of the sneaky war between China and the US, a 46-year-old Chinese man by the name of Mo Hailong pleaded guilty in Iowa federal court on Wednesday for the devastating crime of conspiring to steal high-tech patented corn seeds from US companies, with intent to transport them to China.
According to the US Department of Justice, Mo confessed to attempting to nick the inbred corn seeds from southern Iowa fields, for the benefit of his international business, the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group, of which he’s the director.
The apparently much-coveted seeds belong to US firms Dupont and Monsanto and, in the words of the Justice Department, “constitute the valuable intellectual property” of the companies. It’s a crime worth up to 10 years imprisonment, but as part of Mo’s plea bargain he’ll be serving 5 at most.
Suspicious cornfield-lurking activities evidently run in the family, considering that the defendant’s sister Mo Yun — incidentally the wife of the Dabeinong Group’s founder — was charged with the same crime in July of 2014.
DuPont appears to be the target of many a rouse by companies from China. Previously a spy ring of five, among them three Chinese, were charged with conspiracy to steal trade secrets about TiO2, the white pigment in paint, plastics, paper, etc.
The sentence for Mo’s appalling treachery remains to be seen.
By Pinky Latt