A traffic police officer in Henan Province was sentenced to six months in detention with a one-year reprieve by a local court for illegally trading 12,441 pieces of personal information, marking the first person convicted in such a case in the province, the Zhengzhou-based Dahe Daily reported Monday.
The Shangcheng County People's Court in the province sentenced the 28-year-old police officer, surnamed Tong, after he earned 61,429.01 yuan ($9,847) from selling the personal information he copied from the public security bureau's internal database.
Tong contacted the buyers online, and negotiated his fee through online messaging platforms including QQ and China Mobile's Fetion, and received payment through AliPay. The case against the buyers has not been announced.
The personal data leaked by Tong included information on people's identity and vehicle ownership and hotel check-in records.
He was also fined 10,000 yuan, and had all his unlawful gains and computer confiscated, in accordance with the Criminal Law.
Article 253 of the law stipulates that any employee of the State or entity in the fields of finance, transportation, education or medical treatment who sells or illegally provides other citizens' personal information will be sentenced to prison for up to three years and may be fined.
Most who have been convicted of the crime have been from the finance or telecommunications industries and it is rare for a government employee to be convicted of such a crime, it reported.
"The agencies that use a citizen's personal information during their work should make related rules and build a monitoring system to step up management and prevent information from being leaked," Liu Tao, a professor with the Chinese People's Public Security University, told the Global Times.
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) launched a nationwide campaign in April to crack down on the trading of personal information.
Around 1,700 suspects were arrested and 611 companies that conducted illegal debt repayment were closed.
An MPS official told the Xinhua News Agency that selling personal information may lead to serious consequences as it violates national information security, causes fraud and can be utilized by criminals.
"There should be harsher punishment for the sellers," Liu said.