[Photo/VCG] Public security organs resolved more than 3,100 criminal cases last year involving the infringement of private information and arrested about 9,700 people, the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday. Police also handled more than 3,400 such public security cases and dealt with more than 3,600 lawbreakers, effectively safeguarding the order of cyberspace and people's legitimate rights and interests, ministry spokesman Jia Junqiang said. Infringement of people's personal information has been rampant in recent years and has seriously damaged the public's legitimate rights and interests, Jia said, adding that it has also induced other crimes such as telecom fraud and bank card theft. In particular, the leaking of personal data online related to the COVID-19 epidemic last year sparked widespread concerns about privacy protection. Public security organs reacted quickly and efficiently in handling such violations, he said. More than 1,500 violators were punished under the provisions of the Regulations on Administrative Penalties for Public Security. The police also told other departments to impose both administrative punishment and discipline from the Communist Party of China on 430 people. Police also dealt with cases involving the infringement of personal information of seniors and minors, the trading of stolen information on the dark web, the theft and sale of facial recognition data and infringements committed by industry insiders. In one case, police in Huludao, Liaoning province, seized 400 sets of industrial and commercial licenses and arrested five suspects who colluded with staff members in the local market supervision bureau to obtain people's personal information to register business licenses. The licenses were sold to people involved in producing and selling fake and shoddy products or telecom fraud. To curb the increasing trend of crimes related to the illegal registration and trade of telephone and bank cards, a cross-ministry conference initiated a nationwide operation against such crimes, leading police to arrest 176,000 suspects by the end of January. As leaked private data is often used in telecom fraud, the ministry has strengthened cooperation and communication with the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and internet companies to improve telecom fraud prevention, Jia said. Police use multiple means to help people avoid financial losses such as intercepting fraudulent telephone calls, improving the accuracy of early warning information and promptly identifying potential victims, he said. The ministry's telecom fraud investigation and handling platform has sent 12.7 million early warning messages and has prevented 12.4 million people from being deceived, helping them avoid losses totaling 242.8 billion yuan ($37.5 billion).