CHINESE media yesterday showed a video of British risk consultant Peter Humphrey appearing to confess to buying and selling private information, in a move that has drawn complaints from the UK.
It is understood that British diplomats have raised concerns with their counterparts in China after state-run broadcaster CCTV showed a handcuffed Humphrey apologising to the government.
“I sometimes used illegal means to obtain personal information,” Humphrey said in Mandarin during the broadcast.
Humphrey, a 57-year-old former journalist for Reuters, runs a risk consultancy with his American wife, Yu Yingzeng.
The couple were detained in Shanghai last month and formally arrested a week ago.
Yesterday marked the first official confirmation of their arrest by Chinese authorities.
Their company ChinaWhys worked for many firms including pharmaceutical group GSK, separate sources familiar with the matter have said.
ChinaWhys’s website describes the firm as offering “discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and commercial investigation services to corporate clients”.
The Chinese authorities have spent months investigating alleged corruption at several pharma firms including GSK, though they have announced no link between this probe and the couple’s arrest.
Humphrey has spent 14 years as a corporate detective, focused on white-collar crime, fraud and crisis management in Asia.
The couple “confessed to the crime without concealing anything”, the state-controlled Xinhua news agency reported.
“We were concerned to see that Peter Humphrey was interviewed about the details of a case which is currently under investigation and has yet to come to trial,” the Foreign Office said in a statement yesterday. “We are continuing to provide consular assistance to Mr Humphrey and his family.”