Beijing authorities have arrested 160 individuals on charges of stealing personal information, according to the Chinese news site Sina. Police have also shut down 13 online platforms that were alleged to have traded in stolen personal information. It follows the arrest of 1,700 suspects in China on similar charges last month.
The raids are part of an ongoing crackdown on online identity theft in the country.
In a co-ordinated raid, 400 police homed in on 10 districts including Dongcheng, Xicheng and Chaoyang to make the arrests.
The suspects are believed to have registered fake commercial consultancies and legal affairs research firms. They are also accused of illegally using professional spying equipment to obtain large volumes of personal and company information. It is claimed the details were then sold for a profit.
A Beijing-based lawyer is among those detained. Sina reports that he had been the subject of a police investigation since October 2009. It said the suspect had been identified while using an online chat program. He is alleged to have told a lawyers’ group that it could be “profitable” to pass on company information.
Sina reported that he had subsequently searched for clients online and had obtained documents from Beijing’s Industry and Commerce Department, with the help of a fake introduction letter from the law firm he worked at.
The news site said it was believed that he went on to recruit other lawyers to obtain further information from local businesses, and raised more than 40,000 yuan ($6,310) from selling it on.
Some of the script kiddies sell essential stolen information for as little a $1 a pop at Chinese sites. Always nice to see authorities in any nation make this part of their daily practice.