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November 26, 2013

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Two arrested for jamming signals

The Jing’an District People’s Procuratorate yesterday approved the arrest of two suspects who jammed mobile phone signals to send spam messages from a car fitted with an illegal mobile station.

It was the first case involving illegal mobile stations in Shanghai.

While there are no specific laws against sending spam messages in China, the duo were guilty of disrupting public services as their jamming activities denied signals to mobile phone users.

An illegal mobile station included a set of devices like a laptop and a special battery that is hooked in a car with antennas. They can be bought easily on online shopping platforms such as Taobao.

In fact, the mobile stations produce signals that are stronger than those offered by the country’s official telecom operators. Anyone in the vicinity of the mobile stations can receive the signals on their cell phones.

By temporarily disabling the official signals, the illegal mobile operators can send messages — usually spam — to nearby cellphone users.

Prosecutors said one of the suspects, surnamed Fan, organized sales promotions. He bought two illegal base stations from a man in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, and taught his accomplice, surnamed Wang, how to use them after installing the device in a car they had rented.

They parked the car near a hotel, which was hosting a sales promotion that was organized by Fan. Wang, who remained in the car, sent out spam messages about the promotion to people nearby.

The two sent out thousands of spam messages from September 9 to September 11, which triggered a large-scale cellphone signal blackout in Jing’an District.

They were caught on September 11 by officials from the Shanghai Radio Administration Bureau and police in the middle of their act.

They were released after authorities seized their base station. But one month later, they were caught again doing the same thing.

Prosecutors said they sent out over 1 million spam messages.



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