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China: Around The Nation

Police in southern China bust six large data theft operations

Raids reveal professionally organised criminal operations, some run by loan sharks, that intercepted millions of items of personal data

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 2:45pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 2:45pm

Police in southern China have busted six data theft operations, arresting 138 suspects at 14 locations in the city of Guangzhou, according to a national newspaper .

The police said the raid, which took place on early on Monday, seized more than 2,000 bank cards and a large number of electronic devices including laptops and smart phones, the China Youth Daily reported on Wednesday, citing the Public Security Bureau of Guangdong province.

The data theft operations illegally intercepted more 100 million items of personal data, ranging from people’s mailing addresses to their telecommunications history.

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One such company called itself “the 16K”, implying it was capable of acquiring personal information from residents in more than 16 provinces.

Some of the operations were operated by loan sharks, police said. Creditors used illegally obtained personal data to track down debtors.

When the police raided the office of one operation they found personal information about debtors and strategies to approach them were drawn up on a whiteboard.

These operation initially bought information from employees of major telecom companies, logistics companies and banks. The also profited from selling the data to other users.