China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on Sunday said police have seized over 3,300 people for stealing and trading private information of Chinese citizens via the Internet in a national campaign.
The suspects were linked to over 1,200 criminal cases, the MPS said in a statement. They include 270 insiders from banking, education, telecommunication, securities and other sectors, in addition to some 90 professional hackers.
In one case, it said, 13 people led by a suspect surnamed Qiu gained access to 60 million items of private information linked to popular Chinese online shopping portals such as taobao.com, jd.com, and dangdang.com.
A total of 420,000 items of illegitimate and fraudulent information have been removed from the Internet since the campaign started in April, the statement added.
The development came as authorities try to raise awareness against rampant cyber and telecom fraud across the nation.
Telecom fraud became a public sore point in China after a case last month in which Xu Yuyu, an 18-year-old high school graduate in Shandong Province, died of cardiac arrest after losing her tuition money to a telecom fraudster.
According to the MPS, infringement of private information via the Internet often serves as a precursor to telecom fraud.
It said the ministry will keep up high pressure on crimes that involve stealing, trading and illegally taking advantage of citizens' private information, and will work to urge e-commerce, instant messaging and social networking platforms to step up internal supervision.