Two public officials have been arrested on charges of pocketing government subsidies intended for small business owners after illegally obtaining personal data of some 120,000 people, police said Wednesday.
The suspects, including a 58-year-old Ministry of Employment and Labor mid-ranking official surnamed Choi, are also under suspicion of siphoning off the detailed personal information of 128,000 recipients of the government subsidies that are devised to support small enterprises, between August 2008 and October 2013, they said.
Choi then allegedly applied for the subsidies by using the information of the data leak victims and diverted nearly 5.8 billion won ($5.4 million) into his pocket as commission, officers said.
Police suspect that Choi, who works at the ministry's regional office, illegally accessed the information of some 8 million people and corporations that qualified for the subsidy.
"It is more common that data leak crimes are caused by people handling personal information rather than by hackers," said a leading investigator at Yeongdeungpo Police Station.
The leaked data were only used for this crime, and there had been no secondary damages from the leakage so far, officers said.
Police said they have also booked 15 others, including Choi's daughter, for their alleged participation in the crime. (Yonhap News)