China confirms Briton arrest in data collection probe

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Police in China have confirmed the arrest of a British investigator and his wife over the alleged illegal trafficking of personal data.

Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, broke the law on at least 10 occasions, state media report.

State-run CCTV showed two people, handcuffed, with their faces blurred.

Mr Humphrey, 57, is the founder of ChinaWhys, a risk management firm that provides services to multinationals. He is also a former journalist.

The company's website says that it specialises in "discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and investigation services to corporate clients in matters of high sensitivity across Greater China and the Asia Pacific".

His wife, Yu Yingzeng, 60, is the firm's general manager.

The couple were arrested on 16 August, state-run Xinhua news agency said, quoting police in Shanghai.

According to state media, the couple sold personal information to clients through research companies.

Police told state media the information included addresses, family members and car and home ownership records.

The man on the CCTV report was quoted as saying: "I deeply regret this matter and I apologise to the Chinese government."

UK diplomats confirmed Mr Humphrey's arrest last week, but gave no details of the allegations.

Among Mr Humphrey's clients was reportedly the British pharmaceutical firm, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), says the BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing.

But in its reports, state-run media made no mention of the company, our correspondent adds.

Last month, GSK was accused by Chinese authorities of directing up to £320m through travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials. Several GSK employees have been detained over the last few weeks.

The firm said it would fully co-operate with Chinese authorities.

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