|British data trafficker Humphrey and wife regret illegally profiting from China information
State television put two fraud investigators including a middle-aged British man on display today and he was contrite over allegations of profiting from illegally collecting and selling personal information of Chinese citizens.
The couple, British national Peter Humphrey, 57, who is a former Reuters journalist, and his wife Yu Yingzeng, have confessed to the criminal facts and apologized to the Chinese government, police said.
They traded data including residential addresses, family members, exit-entry information and real estate, Xinhua said citing police.
Police announced they were charged with illegally obtaining personal information.
They are accused of obtaining personal information and selling reports for “high prices'' to clients.
“The couple illegally trafficked a huge amount of personal information on Chinese citizens to seek profits via registering so-called research companies in Hong Kong and Shanghai since 2003,” Xinhua said.
The statement did not mention work their firm did for GlaxoSmithKline, following speculation their detention might be related to the British pharmaceutical giant, which is facing a bribery investigation in China.
In a report which appeared to be coordinated with the police announcement, China Central Television showed Humphrey walking in handcuffs and wearing the orange vest of a Shanghai detention center. Yu was also shown, though both of their faces were deliberately blurred.
“I deeply regret this matter and I apologize to the Chinese government,'' Humphrey said in the report.
Yu told state radio that their clients were multinational companies including manufacturers, financial institutions and law firms. No names were given.
Humphrey is the founder of Shanghai-based risk advisory firm ChinaWhys, while Yu worked as its general manager.
Police said out of 500-plus investigative reports, “more than 10'' had violated the privacy of Chinese citizens, the statement said.
Police said the firm paid 800 yuan to 2,000 yuan for each piece of information, China National Radio reported.
China has detained four GSK executives for allegedly masterminding a scheme to funnel bribes to doctors in return for buying the pharmaceutical firm's products.
GSK has admitted some of its executives violated Chinese law and pledged to cooperate with the investigation.--AFP/Xinhua