SOUTH KOREA - The Busan Metropolitan Police Agency arrested a suspect involved in the trade of personal information of more than 12 million people, according to a police statement on Tuesday.
The police arrested one suspect who sold personal information, and booked 17 buyers without detention.
The suspect allegedly bought personal information from illegal distribution dealers in China and used it for marketing credit brokerage and mobile telecom services, the police said.
Among the leaked personal information, 4.2 million were from mobile carriers, 1 million from financial organisations and 1.8 million from travel agencies.
"As for telecoms, the information kept in handset shops appeared to be hacked," said Kim Byung-rok, head of Busan Police's cyber team.
"The investigation is ongoing in collaboration with the International Criminal Police Organisation to seek the offenders, who illegally hacked and distributed the personal information," Kim said.
The police said they collected some of the information that was leaked, such as resident registration numbers, telephone numbers, addresses and bank accounts.
Experts say the main cause was negligence on the part of handset shops where clients' personal information is stored and often sold to illegal distributors.
"It is not difficult for the stores to exploit personal information for marketing purposes or illegal telemarketing," sources said.