Updated at 6.04pm, Tuesday: In a bid to crack down on illegal Internet activities, Beijing has closed down a few mainland Web sites that have been trying to sell their collections of personal and company e-mail addresses, official media reported on Tuesday. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) also said that it would take civil action or bring criminal charges against those involved in this illegal racket. The selling of e-mail addresses is a booming business as Web companies sell their address databases to clients, who then send out junk mail and other promotional materials, an industry analyst said. An unidentified online database dealer based in Shenzhen claimed on its promotional Web page that it had built up a database of 34 million personal and 200,000 company e-mail addresses worldwide. When contacted, a salesperson said that he was not aware of any privacy violations and that the company was doing nothing illegal. But an official with the Bureau of Public Information and Network Security, which is part of the MPS, said that the unauthorised of selling e-mail addresses was illegal under mainland civil and criminal law and computer system security regulations issued by the MPS.