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November 22, 2019

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101 nabbed as telecom fraud gang taken down

A TOTAL of 101 suspects have been caught in a telecom scam which was cracked after a local company lost about 35 million yuan (US$5 million) to the fraudsters, Shanghai police said yesterday.

The gang allegedly made sham calls targeting firms in China from their base in Cambodia.

The local company reported its loss to the police in Xuhui District on July 30.

Allegedly, an accountant at the company was asked via QQ, an instant messaging app, by a person using the name of the boss, to transfer 35 million yuan in total to several bank accounts from July 29 to 30. The accountant did so, only to discover later that the “boss” was a fraudster.

Police said this was the largest sum lost in a reported telecom fraud case in Shanghai this year.

In September, police caught a number of people who allegedly ran the QQ accounts. Further clues led to a suspect surnamed Zhou who allegedly purchased about 1,500 QQ accounts and 20 VIP accounts of qichacha.com, a business database in China, for the purpose of the fraud.

From September to October, the remaining suspects who were in charge of contacting company accountants from the QQ accounts, laundering the illegal gains and taking cash from ATM were caught. While most were caught from locations in China, two major suspects were nabbed in Cambodia.

Police said the gang started the criminal operation in March, recruiting people from China’s mainland to work for them.

One of the recruits who made the call to the Shanghai company which lost 35 million yuan was a man surnamed Wu, who had just turned 18.

After Wu and his partners got their “big fish,” the two major suspects disbanded the gang for fear they would be discovered, according to the police, who have frozen over 14 million yuan in funds related to criminal activities in the gang’s bank accounts.

Police said the number of telecom fraud suspects caught so far this year represents a 62.9 percent rise over the same period last year. The number of such cases solved increased by 6.9 percent year on year.




 

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