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China Daily Website

9 busted in Internet fraud ring

Updated: 2012-12-01 08:11
By Zhang Yan in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Chinese police arrested nine African suspects in a cross-border Internet fraud scheme that targeted foreign-funded enterprises in China, the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday.

The total amount of money involved in the fraud cases was 2.4 million yuan ($385,000), the ministry said.

"The crackdown is conducive to maintaining China's trade order, and protecting the foreign-trade environment," said Liao Jinrong, director of the International Cooperation and Communication Bureau under the ministry on Friday.

In August 2011, Chinese agencies representing 27 countries and regions, including the US, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, reported to Shanghai police that their foreign head offices were cheated when making payments of goods to trade companies in China, said Chen Zhen, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, on Friday.

Police said they discovered the main African suspects stayed overseas and used the Internet to direct the criminal gang.

The suspects first searched for information of foreign-funded companies in China, and then managed to get "Trojan horse" viruses on the companies' computers to steal e-mail passwords and other important information, said Ding Jiaxiang, deputy director of the criminal investigation department under the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau.

They then asked African gang members in China to hack into the mail between foreign trade companies based overseas and their Chinese business counterparts to monitor their trade relationships, he said.

"Once the suspects found companies were conducting the payments, they sent false e-mails, and tricked trade companies into transferring their money to the designated bank accounts held by them."

The African suspects used fake passports to open many bank accounts in China, Chen said.

In November, police arrested the nine African suspects in Shanghai.

"After getting the money, we immediately withdrew cash, and only leaving 10 percent of the total involved as reward, we transferred the rest to the gang leaders who were overseas," police quoted the suspects' confession as saying.

The nine African suspects have been brought to Shanghai's prosecuting department to await charges of fraud, and police have asked Interpol to help keep track of foreign suspects overseas, Chen said.