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1,700-plus suspects seized for personal information trades

(Xinhua)

08:27, April 25, 2012

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have seized more than 1,700 suspects in a crackdown on illegal trading in individuals' private information.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Ministry of Public Security, about 200 of these suspects are "major sources" that hold and sell private data, and another 611 groups engaged in illegal investigation or debt collection were smashed.

"Illegal trading in personal information has been rampant, and it has led to die-hard criminal activities such as telecom fraud, blackmail, kidnapping and illegal debt collection. This issue has induced serious harms on society and triggered strong public outcry," said the statement.

According to the ministry, violators usually buy citizens' personal information from insiders with various groups and trade it online. The information ranges from banking, civil aviation to the telecommunication field, including cell phone numbers and call histories.

While promising a long-term, high-profile crackdown on related crimes, the ministry also called upon the public to carefully protect their personal information.

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