On 14 September, Jiangsu Xuzhou police announced they had uncovered a student crime ring responsible for the sale of nearly 100 million citizens’ data.
Police traveled to Wuhan, Chengdu, Kunming, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Xi’an and other places to arrest suspects. The sting resulted in a total of 23 people detained and 9 arrests.
An Internet café owner in Xuzhou told police that in April of this year a customer had been using QQ chat to sell citizen information “for only a few cents”. Police later found the suspect was located in Hubei. After locating this QQ user, authorities were referred to a company named Wuhan Sheng Jingwei Internet Service Co. Ltd.
On 20 April, police arrested the company’s legal representative along with 13 other employees, and seized 20 computers, 30 mobile phones, bank cards and USB sticks; all suspected of carrying the personal information of tens of thousands of citizens.
Police later found that most employees were students who relied on a performance-based commission. Monthly salaries ranged from anywhere between several hundred to several thousand yuan. Students were instructed to target clients such as real estate agents and insurance companies.