Du Tianyu, whose theft and sale of information led to the death of an 18-year-old university candidate, stands trial on Thursday.
18-year-old college candidate tricked out of money she needed for tuition
A hacker connected with the high-profile case of a college-bound student who died after having her tuition stolen was sentenced on Thursday to six years in prison for illegally obtaining private information.
The Luozhuang District People's Court in Linyi, Shandong province, ruled that in April 2016 Du Tianyu planted a malicious Trojan horse program into a computer network operated by the Shandong college exam authorities and obtained more than 640,000 pieces of personal data about students who were to take the national college examination later that year.
Du, 19, sold more than 100,000 pieces of information to Chen Wenhui and was paid 14,100 yuan (,120).
Du pleaded guilty during the trial, but did not say whether he will appeal to a higher court. He was also fined 60,000 yuan.
The case took on national significance in August last year when one victim, Xu Yuyu, an 18-year-old university candidate from Linyi, died of cardiac arrest after being conned out of 9,900 yuan she needed for her college tuition.
The gang cheated numerous victims out of a total of more than 560,000 yuan from November 2015 to August 2016, according to the court. More than 23,000 calls were made in which the gang posed as educational, financial or real estate officials.
Chen, the ringleader of the telecom fraud gang, was sentenced last month by the Linyi Intermediate People's Court to life in prison for fraud and illegally obtaining private data. Six other fraudsters received prison terms of three to 15 years.
Ruan Chuansheng, a lawyer in Shanghai, applauded the penalty, saying the judgment upholds the Criminal Law against the infringement of personal information and also shows the country's increasing efforts against telecom and online fraud.
Under the revised law, people who misuse others' private data, such as names and phone numbers, will face up to seven years in jail.
"The prison term for Du is six years, almost the maximum penalty for the crime. It meets the country's requirement of stricter punishments for those who infringe others' privacy," Ruan said.
"Illegally using private data is the root of telecom fraud, so the stronger the fight against those who misuse others' private data, the more effectively fraud can be reduced."