Anhui Police bust six telecom fraud dens, arrest 41 suspects
Published: Jul 18, 2023 02:27 AM
Handcuffs Photo: CFP

Handcuffs Photo: CFP

The police in Dingyuan County, East China's Anhui Province, have dismantled six dens involved in telecommunications fraud and arrested 41 individuals in a recent operation. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the fraudsters accumulated more than one million yuan ($155 thousand) through illicit activities, according to a recent report by the, a news portal website of the Ministry of Public Security.

According to the report, the fraudsters primarily added the victims through social media platforms. They would establish emotional connections with victims using pre-established scripts. After gaining the victims' trust, they would falsely claim they livestream on certain platforms and deceive the victims into recharging to buy virtual gifts. 

The criminal groups even demanded that the female live streamers engage in relationships with the victims within four to five days, the report said. The case is currently under further investigation.

"The fraudsters had specific and detailed routines for daily conversations and social media posts. No matter how the victims replied, they always had appropriate responses," one of the investigating officers remarked. 

The case initially came to light when a resident of Dingyuan, surnamed Geng, reported his own experience to local police. According to Geng, he met a single woman surnamed Liu online in June. Just three days later, they entered a romantic relationship. Then Liu told him that she had recently become a live streamer on a certain online platform and needed to win three consecutive PK contests with other live streamers to successfully pass her probationary period.

Later, she asked Geng to help her with the final PK contest, promising that she would move to Deng's hometown and return all the money he recharged during the live stream. Geng recharged over 4,000 yuan within the app where Liu live broadcasted, to buy virtual gifts supporting Liu. However, Liu ultimately failed to win the contest and ceased all communication with him. When Geng realized he had likely been scammed, he reported the incident to the local police.

After examining the registration information of the live streaming platform and tracing the flow of funds from Geng, over 80 police members came to six locations in Central China's Henan Province, discovering that this case involving a criminal syndicate with multiple upstream and downstream networks engaged in cross-regional telecommunications fraud. Over 200 computers and cell phones were seized at the scene, according to the post.

"The syndicate and the live streamers involved in this case are suspected of using online communication tools and internet technology to carry out fraudulent activities. According to the Criminal Law and other legal provisions, the main perpetrators, including platform builders, company owners, and financial managers, could face sentences of more than 10 years in prison, along with fines, depending on the amount of money involved," Qi Hongzhan, a lawyer from the Shanghai-based Shtyls Law Firm, told the Global Times.

The penalties for these live streamers will vary depending on their roles within the criminal syndicate, Qi expressed. In some cases, those streamers directly participate in profit-sharing within the company, which may result in their classification as principal offenders and receive punishments similar to other main perpetrators. However, in other instances, streamers may only be responsible for live performances, and gained relatively small profits during the entire criminal activity, they may be deemed accomplices and face detention or lighter prison terms, in addition to fines, he added.