Chinese court jails Apple iPad spies

A South China court has jailed three people for stealing the design to Apple’s iPad 2 tablet computer and using it to make counterfeits.

According to AP, the theft was carried out in a plant run by Foxconn in Guangdong province late last year. It resulted in fake iPad 2 tablets being sold in China before Apple’s official launch of the product.

Xiao Chengsong, the legal agent of Maita Electronics, was jailed for 18 months and fined $23,000 for buying the design from two Foxconn workers.

Foxconn employee Lin Kecheng, was sentenced to 14 months and fined $15,000, while another worker identified as Hou Pengna was given a two-year sentence suspended for one year and fined $15,000. All three were convicted of the crime of violating commercial secrets, it said.

In 2010, Apple’s iPad, the first generation of the tablet computer, was also pirated before its official launch in China and sold as the “iPed” for only a fraction of the cost of the real product.

Foxconn is extremely sensitive about Apple’s designs falling into the wrong hands. When a product went missing, the bloke who was responsible for looking after it was so stressed that he threw himself off a building.