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March 25, 2015

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2 held over US$58,000 hotel booking scam

TWO men have been detained on suspicion of cheating a hotel-booking website out of 360,000 yuan (US$58,000) by exploiting a loophole in its marketing promotion.

The company,, offered customers refunds of between 2 and 10 yuan for making bookings through the site, which were redeemable after check-in.

However, the suspects, surnamed Kuang and Zhang, realized that the refunds were paid even if they didn’t check in, as long as they left a comment about each hotel on the website, Shanghai police said.

Between September and November last year, the two men are alleged to have made more than 50,000 bookings at hotels across China, from which they earned 360,000 yuan in refunds.

The bookings were made through 70 fake accounts with the website, which were in turn linked to fraudulent bank accounts, police said.

The alleged scam was discovered after police were contacted by, which had become alarmed at the amount of money it was paying out in refunds.

Kuang was detained at his home in Zhoukou, central China’s Henan Province, at the end of January. His wife, surnamed Xu, turned herself in at the beginning of February and returned 220,000 yuan of the money taken by her husband and his accomplice, police said.

Zhang turned himself in earlier this month.


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