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Court told of Thai gangsters' phone fraud

A MAN said to have set up an automatic call system for overseas fraudsters who swindled more than 4 million yuan (US$585,489) from five victims went on trial yesterday.

Xuhui District prosecutors said Yang Huisheng, 22, a Hubei Province native, bought the software from Shanghai Yukun Telecom Technology Co Ltd in July 2008. He then set up an automatic call system by renting a server and connecting to an international phone line.

A gang in Thailand, headed by a man nicknamed Stone, used the system to call people at random. People who answered would hear an automatic voice saying the user had a large telephone bill and to press nine, Xuhui District People's Court heard.

When they pressed nine, they were connected to gang members who pretended to be telecom staff. They said the victims' private details had been compromised and transferred the call to other gangsters who pretended to be police or prosecutors. They persuaded the victims to transfer money into "safe accounts." After the victims had done so, the gangsters withdrew the money, prosecutors said.

Yang said he was a sales agent for Yukun and responsible for selling software to clients. All the installation and maintenance services were provided by Yukun.

Yang said he didn't know about the fraud until he was apprehended on January 1. Stone had told him the software was used to promote his products abroad, Yang said. Prosecutors said Yang had made a previous confession saying he knew about the fraud and had agreed to take part in it.

The court didn't announce a verdict in the case yesterday.


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