A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Chinese scientist in Kansas of conspiring to steal samples of a variety of genetically engineered rice seeds from a U.S. research facility, the U.S. Justice Department said, the latest attempt at agricultural theft linked to China.
Weiqiang Zhang, 50, a Chinese national living in Manhattan, Kansas, was convicted on three counts, including conspiracy to steal trade secrets and interstate transportation of stolen property, the department said in a statement.
Zhang, who has a doctorate from Louisiana State University, worked as a rice breeder for Kansas-based Ventria Bioscience Inc, which develops genetically programmed rice used in the therapeutic and medical fields.
He stole hundreds of rice seeds produced by Ventria and stored them at his Manhattan residence, the statement said. more