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Telecom scams being kept in check

By YANG ZEKUN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-04-15 09:40
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Country targets fraudsters operating overseas as it continues crackdown

The rising trend of telecom fraud in recent years has been effectively curbed, but an intensified crackdown will remain along with comprehensive governance and prevention, authorities said on Thursday.

The number of registered fraud cases has decreased for nine consecutive months. Police nationwide have resolved 394,000 such cases, and arrested 634,000 suspects, up 28.5 percent and 76.6 percent year-on-year, respectively, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The ministry has worked with other judicial and administrative departments to target all aspects of fraud crimes, including people who leave the country to commit crimes and who use phone cards and bank cards to carry out fraud activities, said Du Hangwei, vice-minister of public security.

"Big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other technological means have been deeply integrated with prevention measures and management to prevent the public from being cheated," Du said.

Authorities helped 61.7 million people avoid being deceived by potential telecom fraud attempts during the past year. They also intensified the countermeasures and established a rapid and dynamic mechanism that blocked 1.95 billion fraudulent calls, 2.14 billion text messages, 2.1 million fraudulent domain names and websites, and stopped 329 billion yuan ($51.6 billion) in payments that may have involved fraud.

Du said public security organs have vigorously promoted source control and education, and persuaded 210,000 people involved in fraud to return from abroad during the past year. The number of people who committed crimes against Chinese people from abroad has significantly decreased.

Strict exit control measures have also been implemented, effectively cutting off border smuggling channels, and preventing a large number of people involved in fraud from attempting to leave China to engage in fraud, he said.

Liu Zhongyi, head of the criminal investigation bureau of the Ministry of Public Security, said the rapid rise in cases has been effectively curbed, but the telecom fraud crime situation remains grim and complex, and the intensified crackdown and comprehensive governance should remain.

Telecom network fraud has become a mainstream crime in recent years, and is a global problem.

Fraud gangs use tailored scripts based on collected personal information to target different groups, covering areas such as fake investment and financial management, fake online loans and fake customer service, Liu said.

Liu said fraud gangs are well organized and have a clear division of labor, with group leaders often hiding abroad and using the guise of high-salary recruitment to lure and recruit inexperienced young people to engage in fraud activities.

"There are still a large number of criminal gangs in Cambodia, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, northern Myanmar and other countries and regions, committing fraud targeting Chinese citizens," Liu said.

Through overseas chat software, the group leaders guide people on the Chinese mainland to engage in various crimes involving schemes concerned with things like mobile app production and development, promotion, trading information, money transfer and laundering. Such crimes have the obvious characteristics of transnational organized crimes, he said.

Last year, the ministry sent multiple working groups to Cambodia, the UAE, northern Myanmar and other key countries and regions, to carry out international law enforcement cooperation. More than 610 suspects have been repatriated to China from abroad, Liu said.

Li Ruiyi, deputy chief judge of the Supreme People's Court No 3 Criminal Division, said the courts combine recovering people's losses with advancing the trial while handling such cases to ensure the funds involved are returned to the victims in a timely manner.

Li said the top court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the ministry have continuously improved and clarified standards for the application of laws to meet the needs of case handling.

"We will research and formulate evidence norms adapted to the characteristics and laws of telecom fraud cases, and further solve difficulties in investigation and evidence collection and identification of such cases," Li said.

To provide legal support, the Legislative Working Committee of the National People's Congress is accelerating the legislation of the Anti-Telecom and Internet Fraud Law.

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