China’s cheaters cheated by illegally prying private eyes
Private investigators are banned on the mainland but that didn’t stop them targeting suspicious partners and tailing women to catch them having extramarital sex in cars, hotels
Two “private investigators” who shot videos of women having sex in cars and meeting their lovers in hotels have appeared in a court in eastern China.
The two, aged 30 and 35 years old, were each given three year suspended jail sentences and fined 130,000 yuan (US$18,700) by the Xihu District People’s Court in Hangzhou for disclosing personal information.
According to the Qiangjiang Evening News the offenders ran a consulting firm specialising in obtaining evidence of cheating partners in relationships in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Police found evidence in five cases that the offenders had breached the law, including by following ‘target’ wives by car to find evidence of them cheating, shooting video of them having sex in their cars and meeting their lovers in hotels. The pair also planted locators on the women’s cars.
The court also heard the offenders would sometimes forge evidence. In one case, a man asked them to investigate whether he was the biological father of a child and, when the offenders were unable to obtain a DNA sample from the child, they forged a paternity test result which showed he was not.
Their company was established at the end of 2016 and, by last August when it came to the attention of police, had shot 527 video clips of individuals’ activities and provided 28 reports to clients detailing the movements of “targets”.
The offenders made 124,500 yuan (US$18,000) by illegally obtaining sensitive personal data such as phone records, household registrations and banking account details 66 times.
The court heard the offenders had attracted clients to their business by posting articles on relationship websites with fake accounts of women gaining more bargaining power in divorce cases with the help of investigators.
They also advertised in search engines so their names and contact details would come up when people searched for keywords such as “extramarital affairs”.
The prosecutor said private investigators were illegal in China and any disclosure of private information such as phone records, property or movements should be considered a serious criminal offence.
Only government law enforcement agencies are allowed to conduct investigations into individuals. A regulation in 1993 by the Ministry of Public Security specifically banned any company or individuals from operating such businesses and no firm has been ever been approved for this line of work.