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One million pieces of personal information found in gang’s hands

NEARLY 1 million pieces of personal information were recovered as police took down a gang of 10 in Beijing and Shanghai who are suspected of illegally obtaining and selling personal information, local police announced today.

Illegal profits of more than 320,000 yuan (US$52,704) had changed hands in the case, police said.

The case started to unravel in mid-August, when a woman reported an apparent personal information leak after she applied online for an examination and almost immediately started to receive spam messages, triggering an investigation of online message platforms by police in Shanghai’s Zhabei District.

Police targeted an education information company as the source for the spam messages and caught the company owner in the Pudong New Area. The owner said he had bought the personal information from an unemployed local resident surnamed Xu. Xu was caught in the same district on August 22.

Xu said he got the information from a man surnamed Yang, who was responsible for maintaining a national examination application website. After pilfering the applicants' information, he sold it to Xu and was paid 200,000 yuan. Then Xu resold the information to the information company owner and others, including two surnamed Shao and Liao, owners of an education company and a culture communication company, earning an illegal profit of 120,000 yuan.

Yang, the administrative director of a Beijing-based education and technology company, was nabbed in Beijing with two of his other customers, police said.

Shanghai police had handled 3,557 cyber crime cases by December 15 in a crackdown running from May to the end of this year, with 5,801 suspects taken into custody.

A significant portion of these cases involve trafficking in personal information, while the remainder is mainly cyber fraud.


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