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British police arrest eight tied to phone-hacking scandal

February 11, 2012 |  9:27 am

The Sun newspaper

REPORTING FROM LONDON --  Police arrested eight people in London and southern England on Saturday morning in their investigation of corruption connected to the ongoing phone-hacking scandal.

Scotland Yard did not identify those who were arrested, but said they were detained as part of the "investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials. ...in conjunction with the inquiry into the phone-hacking of voicemail boxes.”

A statement from News Corp. in New York confirmed that five of those arrested were journalists working for the popular tabloid the Sun, which is owned by News International, the British branch of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

The British Broadcasting Corp. identified the five as picture editor John Edwards, senior reporter John Kay, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, reporter John Sturgis and associate editor Geoff Webster.

Scotland Yard said the others arrested were members of the police and armed forces, and a Defense Ministry employee.

Five other former and current Sun journalists and one police officer were arrested last month. They since have been released on bail.

As with the arrests last month, police said they had acted on information provided by News Corp. The company pledged in a statement that "unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past will not be repeated." The editor of the Sun, Dominic Mohan, said in a statement that he was shocked by the arrests but determined to lead the paper through difficult times.

Saturday’s arrests are the latest results of investigations into the ethics of the British media in the wake of revelations since last July of hacking into mobile phones and voicemails of celebrities and others in the public eye, including crime victims and their relatives.

A public outcry arose after reports surfaced that the Murdoch-owned News of the World had tapped into the voicemail of Milly Dowler, who was kidnapped and killed by a sex offender in 2002. Murdoch was forced to close the paper.

News International has pledged to pay several million dollars to victims of its practices, and faces a long list of possible lawsuits. Police say they have a list of more than 800 potential victims of phone or email hacking or surveillance by media-hired private investigators.

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 -- Janet Stobart

 

 

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