Star contact info disclosed

Updated: 2006-11-02 08:42

The private phone numbers and addresses of nearly 400 Chinese mainland celebrities were published on the Internet in October, raising alarms over privacy.

Many stars have been bombarded with phone calls from strangers, some of whom are fans offering greetings, while others are pranks, the Beijing Times newspaper reported yesterday.

"I have received a few calls asking me to solve personal problems. It seems to me some of them have mental problems and confuse my real identity with the roles I have played in movies," said actor Zhang Tielin, who has played a Chinese emperor in a popular TV play series.

He complained that his mobile phone was sometimes drained of power in a half day with the large number of incoming calls.

Popstar Zang Tianshuo said he received two text messages early this week. One was from a fan, while the other was from an organization that claimed to be collecting money for charity.

Pop idol and expectant mother Sun Yue said she was happy to receive the occasional greeting call from a fan, but "please don't call after midnight."

Ye Lin, law professor at Beijing-based Renmin University of China, said the stars should be more careful with their phone numbers.

"Tell them only to your family, your good friends and agents.

Tell other people only the number of your agent,'' he said.

He also suggested the stars engage lawyers to protect their rights.

"It's not easy to find the source of a leak in a short time, but at least they can demand Websites stop carrying such information," said Ye.

News stories about the leak abound on the Internet, but Websites carrying phone numbers of the 400 showbiz stars were no longer seen on search results of major search engines by noontime yesterday.

In June last year, the private numbers of nearly 600 celebrities were exposed on the Internet. Zhang Guoli, a film director who was in the exposed list, made a movie about the 601st call based on the incident.

Analysts say such practices are aimed at raising the profile of Websites.

Yang Lixin, a lawyer in Beijing, said they violated privacy and the law.

However, there have been no reports of lawsuits against perpetrators. Analysts say the stars fear if the suits go to court, the cases will trigger yet more leaks of personal information.

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