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August 6, 2010

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Eight jailed in ID thefts

EIGHT people were jailed yesterday for illegally collecting information about private citizens and selling it on the Internet in the biggest case of its kind in Shanghai.

Sentences ranged from six months in prison with probation to two years' jail, judges of Pudong New Area People's Court said.

A ninth man was exempted from criminal punishment on the charge.

The information covered real estate and car buyers, stock market investors, bank clients, insurance policy buyers, high-income people and even newborn babies.

Prosecutors said those who had their personal information stolen could be targeted by business rivals or defrauded by criminals.

The gang's head surnamed Zhou told police that she had earned profits of about 1 million yuan (US$147,493) since she started the illegal business in 2005.

Police also found Zhou's brother-in-law surnamed Li had collected more than 30 million pieces of citizens' personal data since March 2009.

Zhou, from Hubei Province, registered Shanghai Taimeng Information Technology Co Ltd in 2005 to sell company and personal information online. She hired Li and her nephew to sell information about buyers of property and cars.

Zhou was jailed for one year and Li was jailed for two years, based on the amount of data they collected and sold.


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