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Nanjing police bust 'relationship consultant' gang selling personal information

By Quan Zhanfu | | Updated: 2024-02-26 22:46
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Authorities in Nanjing , capital of Jiangsu province, have cracked down on a group posing as "relationship consultants" who were actually using illegal methods to obtain and sell individuals' personal information, according to the Qixia district procuratorate in the city.

This case marks the first instance in the district of prosecuting such a crime, highlighting the growing concern over the misuse of personal data under the guise of legitimate services.

The group's activities came to light in November when a bank security guard in Qixia reported two suspicious men loitering outside the bank, fearing they intended to rob the armored car. Police swiftly apprehended the men, only to discover they were mistakenly identified and were actually conducting an unauthorized investigation on a bank employee.

Further investigation revealed the "consultancy" was established by a man surnamed Zhang and later joined by another surnamed Wu, who invested in the venture. Initially, they advertised their services through flyers and online platforms. As their "business" grew, they recruited others to assist with their illegal activities.

Zhang and Wu primarily handled negotiations with clients, securing agreements and collecting fees. Meanwhile, other members conducted surveillance, took covert photos, and even installed tracking devices on individuals, all under the direction of Zhang and Wu. Through these means, the group amassed over 100,000 yuan ($14,000) by unlawfully obtaining and selling individuals' whereabouts and other personal information.

Authorities determined the group's actions constituted a violation of China's criminal law, specifically the infringement upon citizens' personal information. The suspects were arrested, and the case remains under investigation.

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