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October 15, 2010

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Pair 'stole 1.1m yuan online'

TWO young men went on trial yesterday for allegedly stealing 1.1 million yuan (US$165,000) from an online trading website by exploiting a security loophole.

According to persecutors, the two unemployed young men, Chen Jingkan, 22, and his friend Xing Xiaojiong, 23, applied for around 40 membership accounts from October 28 to November 21, 2009, in order to steal money from of Bailian Group.

Prosecutors claim they discovered a bug in the website which allowed them to charge a Lianhua OK Card consumer card once, but which then duplicated the amount for an unlimited period.

The Putuo District People's Court heard the case but did not announce a verdict.

"If I charge 200 yuan into the card, I can repeat the charging process for unlimited times to duplicate the money," Chen told the court.

Prosecutors said the two men borrowed 18,000 yuan from Xing's brother and used the money to charge their consumer cards hundreds of times, increasing the total money in their numerous card accounts to more than 1.1 million yuan.

Irregularities were noticed by officials with Bailian Group in late November last year, who immediately called the police.

Chen and Xing were detained on January 27 this year. It is alleged that they had already spent 290,000 yuan from their consumer cards. Bailian Group froze all their accounts.

Chen said he discovered the loophole when he paid 2 yuan to purchase virtual currencies on Bailian's website but noticed that he received additional currencies because he turned on the page-locking function of his Internet browser, Opera.

He believed it was this special function in the browser that revealed the online trading system's loophole, and he asked Xing to join him in a money-making scheme.

Although they had been best friends since elementary school, Chen and Xing turned enemies in court, telling conflicting stories to the judges and trying to shift the main responsibility to the other.

Chen said he only used 20,000 yuan from the cards and left the rest to Xing. But Xing said that he didn't know that Chen was stealing money, thinking that he was only helping him borrow the cash.


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