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March 17, 2010

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PI gets jail for buying personal information

A PRIVATE detective who bought more than 40 pieces of private citizens' information illegally from a fireman for his investigations has been sentenced to one year in prison on charges of infringing personal information security.

The detective surnamed Lai is the first in the city to be sentenced for this crime after the revised Criminal Law went into effect on February 28, 2009, judges said.

Lai gained an illegal profit of more than 40,000 yuan (US$5,857) with the personal information, Pudong New Area People's Court said.

The fireman, surnamed Zheng, who served in Jinshan District, will be dealt with in a separate case.

From March 2006 to June 2009, Lai tracked down debtors, unfaithful spouses and counterfeiters for clients. He charged 2,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan for every target he found, the court heard.

He found his targets chiefly by scouring phone bills and residence and vehicle registrations.

He also bought more than 40 pieces of people's private information last year from Zheng, who could get information through his work. Lai offered 50 yuan for names and addresses and 1,000 yuan to track down guests of hotels and inns, prosecutors said.

Yang Xingpei, a professor of East China University of Political Science and Law, said a guilty verdict would help protect citizens' privacy and stop some people from stealing private information.


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