Business

Police in China arrest British executive

SHANGHAI — Police in Shanghai have arrested a British investigator who specialized in advising foreign investors on fraud, cheating and other business risks in China, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Beijing said Wednesday.

The investigator, Peter Humphrey, has been held by the Shanghai police since early July. He is managing director of ChinaWhys, a risk management consulting firm that has done work for GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical group that is facing graft and bribery allegations in China, raising speculation that his detention might be linked to that case.

A spokeswoman for the British Embassy, Hannah Oussedik, would say only that he had been formally arrested. “We can confirm the arrest of a British national, Peter Humphrey, in Shanghai, China, on Monday, 19th August,” Oussedik said in a brief telephone interview.

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The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Humphrey’s arrest, said that his wife, Yu Yingzeng, was also formally arrested in Shanghai, and that the couple are both accused of illegally purchasing information about people. Oussedik could not confirm those details. Yu is a US citizen. US officials in Beijing and Shanghai declined to comment Wednesday.

One person who knows Humphrey and who asked not to be identified said he appears to have been arrested in connection with his work for GlaxoSmithKline.