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March 30, 2011

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Sword and sorcery game was gang target

A GANG'S lucrative scam selling "virtual money" to players of a popular online fantasy game has been put to the sword by local police.

The suspects netted more than 5 million yuan (US$761,500) from the business, officers said.

It is the first case of this kind cracked in Shanghai, according to officers, who received a tip-off on January 25 that sword and sorcery game Dragon Nest was targeted.

After studying online transactions, officers discovered virtual money was being produced and traded for real money via a third-party program.

Some players buy virtual money - which gives them credits to keep playing - from illegal online retailers who usually charge less than official outlets.

Officers apprehended their first suspects on January 26 in southwestern China's Chongqing Municipality. A man, surnamed Yu, and his wife were placed in custody and five computers and account book seized, police said. Other suspects were later detained in Sichuan and Hunan provinces.

Yu told police he developed a program and hacked into the Dragon Nest game system to steal the virtual money producing code and procedures.

Yu's wife was responsible for online sales, said police.

Dragon Nest was released last year and has more than 400,000 players in China.


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