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Police nab last suspect in online thefts, recover part of loot

A FUGITIVE whom police say was the leader of a five-member gang that stole over 30 million yuan (US$4.9 million) from more than 2,000 online banking users' accounts nationwide was caught in Bangkok, Thailand, and has been returned to Shanghai, Jiefang Daily reported today.

The fugitive, surnamed Wang, was the last member of the gang to be captured, police said.

It was the first online theft case in which local police had been able to seize part of the stolen funds in China, Jiefang Daily reported. More than 3 million yuan was recovered.

Police received reports from online consumers last year saying their payments in a sales promotion on the online shopping portal had been transferred to game accounts of the Giant Interactive Group Inc on November 11.

Police said Giant Interactive was not a party to the theft and was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Another netizen, surnamed Li, said all the money in his online account was transferred to the company's game accounts when he was paying for a railway ticket online on January 2.

After an investigation, police found the company had received online banking users' funds when they were ordering tickets or shopping online. Most of the money was transferred to game accounts and immediately used to buy game cards and virtual currency, which meant the police couldn't get all the money back.

Police checked a victim's computer and found a new type of "Trojan horse" malicious software in it. This Trojan can switch the intended payees and transfer payments to suspects' accounts. After the suspects used the money to buy game cards or virtual equipment, they sold the cards and equipment to others at a discount.

It wasn't the first crime charge against Wang -- he had been given a jail term in 2009 for spreading Trojan horse software and controlled several computer systems.


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