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July 22, 2012

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China-Africa fraud gangs busted

SHANGHAI police said they had busted two gangs who swindled firms in a number of countries out of 2.4 million yuan (US$387,096) through online fraud.

It is the biggest international online scam China has detected in terms of the number of criminals, amount of stolen money and fraud cases involved, police said. Eight people from Africa and one Chinese were arrested, and 41 fraud cases were involved, with nine verified.

Police were alerted by companies from countries including Spain, India, the United States and the United Arab Emirates last year, claiming that payments went missing while doing business with trading companies in China.

Overseas companies said they had paid the money to the bank accounts provided by Chinese firms in emails, but their Chinese counterparts said they hadn't received the money.

All of the accounts that Chinese firms should have withdrawn money from were in Shanghai.

A ring committing international fraud was uncovered following investigations, police said. Police said criminals hacked into the mailboxes of companies, monitored transaction records and sent emails duping buyers into making payments into their bank accounts.

These emails were sent in Africa and the stolen money was transferred to Nigeria.

Ring members were caught in Shanghai and Beijing and were found to have used fake passports. Some were caught while withdrawing stolen money at banks in Shanghai. Luxury products, including watches and wine, were found at their homes, said police.

Two suspects are still at large outside China, said Shanghai police, who are continuing investigations.


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