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Octopus-gate chief exec resigns over private data sale

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The sale of private data by Hong Kong transport payments firm Octopus Holdings has forced the resignation of chief exec Prudence Chan.

Octopus, which sells cards used by Hong Kong residents to pay for subway and bus fares, has agreed to donate to charity the HK$44m ($5.7m) it made from selling the details of an estimated two million users as it seeks to draw a line under the scandal. David Tang, head of property projects at MTR Corp, a majority shareholder at Octopus, has been appointed as interim chief executive. Chan will remain at Octopus for a six-month handover period, Bloomberg reports.

The transport payment firm sold personal data to six firms without the consent of its customers. Chan initially denied the sale of the data to privacy commissioners but was forced to admit wrongdoing after further evidence emerged. Her dissembling provoked a public outcry and calls from local politicians for her to resign.

Octopus cards are held by the vast majority of HK residents and can be used to buy food at various outlets as well as paying for transportation. Some purchase the cards for cash but Octopus cards can also be recharged using credit cards. In addition, the firm operates a loyalty card scheme. ®

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