SHANGHAI, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- The confessions of a foreign couple jailed on Friday for stealing and reselling personal information to companies including scandal-hit GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) China have been detailed in a court statement.
Briton Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng were respectively sentenced to two and a half years in prison and two years in prison. They were also fined.
According to the court statement, Humphrey and Yu confessed to obtaining private information of Chinese citizens by illegal means including buying with cash, tracking and covert photography.
They would write reports based on this information, including the targeted people's household registration, travel and call records, and resell them at a profit to various companies, mainly multinationals headquartered in 16 countries, including the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Japan, the couple confessed in court.
The duo said their company earned several million yuan each year.
According to Humphrey, in April 2013, Mark Reilly and Zhao Hongyan from GSK China's management paid him 100,000 yuan as a downpayment and asked him to find out who had filed formal allegations of bribery against the company.
Humphrey conducted a two-month investigation and collected the private information of a number of people via illegal means. He confessed that he then gave this information to GSK China.
Humphrey said that, after his investigation, he found that the reports about GSK's bribery were well-founded.
"We hope the court can accept our contrition. I apologize for what we have done," said Humphrey in his final statement. Yu also asked for the court's forgiveness.
He defended himself by saying that he did not realize his business violated Chinese law.
He also mentioned his son, who was present at the court hearing, and promised that he would teach him to love and respect China and make positive contributions to the country.
"China is open to the outside world and welcomes foreign people, but it never allows them access to the forbidden zone of illegality," the prosecutors said during the trial. "All individuals must abide by China's law, and all enterprises must operate according to law."
The court also warned that any illegal investigation, even if disguised as something other, will never be allowed.