China accuses Briton and his American wife of illegally buying private data

China accuses Briton and his American wife of illegally buying private data
A flag (L) bearing the logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) flutters next to a Chinese national flag outside a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013. China must crack down on commercial bribery by multinational firms, the country's top state paper said on July 17, 2013 two days after police accused British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline of the widespread bribery of Chinese officials and doctors.

BEIJING - China has accused two risk consultants, a British man and his American wife, of illegally buying and selling private information, state media reported on Tuesday, amid a nationwide probe into the drugs industry.

The Briton, Peter Humphrey, and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, were detained in Shanghai on July 10 as police investigated bribery accusations against British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

A police investigator in Shanghai, Lu Wei, said on state-run CCTV the couple "wantonly" obtained a lot of information on home registrations, international travel, and property records.

They sold the information to lawyers, multinational companies and financial institutions, CCTV said.

Humphrey said in a statement broadcast on CCTV that he had occasionally used illegal methods.

"I sometimes used illegal means to obtain personal information," Humphrey said in Mandarin to a camera as he sat handcuffed wearing an orange vest.

"I very much regret this and apologise to the Chinese government," said Humphrey, who once worked as a journalist for Reuters.

ChinaWhys, the investigative risk consultancy Humphrey and Yu founded, worked for many firms including GSK, separate sources familiar with the matter have said.

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