Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Society

Ya'an cracks down on 'black pig adoption' pyramid scheme, 24 convicted

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-06-16 21:11
Share - WeChat

Authorities in Ya'an, Sichuan province, have broken up a large-scale online pyramid scheme that defrauded investors of over 400 million yuan ($55 million). The scheme, disguised as a virtual "black pig adoption" program, lured victims with promises of daily returns and recruitment bonuses.

The operation ran through a mobile app called He Yuan Farm. Users were promised daily "rebates" for a 5,000 yuan ($700) upfront fee to "adopt" a virtual black pig. They were further incentivized to recruit new members with a 20 percent commission on their adoption fees.

However, authorities discovered that He Yuan Farm was a facade for Pang Bo Group, a company with a history of pyramid scheme activity. Over two years, the group amassed over 50,000 members across 27 provinces in China. Most investors lost their entire stake after initial small payouts.

The ringleader, surnamed Liu, received a six-year prison sentence and an 800,000 yuan fine. The remaining 23 individuals involved were given suspended sentences and fines.

"These online scams come in various forms, not just 'black pig adoption,'" warned Wang Longfei, an officer from the Ya'an public security bureau. "Be wary of any investment scheme that requires an upfront fee, promises high returns for recruitment, and relies on constantly adding new members."

Experts are calling for increased public awareness and vigilance against such scams, particularly those exploiting popular government initiatives.

"It's vital to identify and stop illegal activities disguised as rural development projects," said Wang Youliang, a law professor at Sichuan University. "We need to intensify warnings about new forms of online pyramid schemes and empower people to recognize, prevent, and resist them."

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349