Political and legal organ of CPC vows to crack down on telecommunications fraud, internet gambling
Published: Jul 30, 2023 11:38 PM
A police volunteer instructs students on how to guard against online telecom fraud at a high school in Rugao, East China's Jiangsu Province on May 16, 2023. Photo: IC

A police volunteer instructs students on how to guard against online telecom fraud at a high school in Rugao, East China's Jiangsu Province on May 16, 2023. Photo: IC

China will severely crack down on telecommunications fraud conducting overseas and impose severe penalties on co-perpetrators operating at home soil, so as to resolutely safeguard the interests of the people, a key meeting of the political and legal affairs organ of the Communist Party of China (CPC) vowed on Saturday.

The plenary session of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee stressed that more efforts to be directed toward publicity and education in order to enhance public awareness and capabilities in identifying and preventing telecommunications fraud, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

Online gambling and telecommunications fraud in neighboring Myanmar have caused a series of serious social problems in recent years, along with other crimes including murder, kidnapping, human trafficking, and illegal immigration. Criminal groups often lure people from neighboring countries to Myanmar with a promise of high salaries, media reports said.

The resolve to crack down from the political and legal organ of the CPC comes amid the wide attention the topic of telecommunications fraud has garnered on Chinese social media after reporters from the City Channel of Henan Television Station (HNTV) risked their lives to carry out a 120-day undercover investigation to expose illegal immigration and telecom fraud in Myanmar, as reported by Henan Television recently.

Not only has the undercover investigation evoked strong reactions among the family members of victims who have been trapped in Myanmar, but it has also drawn the attention of relevant authorities in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southwest China's Sichuan and Guizhou provinces, and other regions. These departments have actively engaged with the family members and provided them with all possible assistance and support.

As of July 25, the reporting team has received over 1,200 pleas for help from individuals trapped in Myanmar. Thanks to the coverage by the investigation, six trapped individuals, most in their teens or 20s, have been directly or indirectly rescued and brought back to China, where they returned to their families, according to Jimu News, a local new media platform affiliated with Hubei Daily.   

Cracking down on criminal activities such as telecommunications fraud and online gambling has also been one of the frequent topics between China and Myanmar. Most recently, on July 25, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai met with Myanmar's Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Than Swe to coordinate with the Myanmar side about jointly cracking down on these criminal activities within Myanmar's borders. 

Chen pointed out that in response to the rampant spread of telecommunications fraud in the border areas of Myanmar, joint operations among China, Myanmar, and Thailand have achieved initial results. However, despite these efforts, telecommunications fraud, particularly in the northern part of Myanmar and its border regions, continue to be rampant, causing significant harm to the interests of the people of both China and Myanmar.

The two sides highlighted further effective measures to carry out a new phase in the joint crackdown, spare no effort to eradicate telecommunications fraud, rescue trapped Chinese nationals, bring criminal forces and their members to justice, and uphold the overall interests of China-Myanmar friendship and cooperation, according to a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.

Than Swe expressed that Myanmar highly values China's concerns and Myanmar will coordinate with China and other relevant neighboring countries to carry out follow-up actions in combating telecommunications fraud and illegal gambling. Both sides will explore the establishment of a regular cooperation mechanism to deter wrongdoers involved in fraud and gambling activities within Myanmar's borders, thus safeguarding the safety and interests of the people in both countries, Than Swe vowed in meeting with Chen.

Besides Myanmar, similar cases have also been reported in other countries including Sri Lanka and Thailand. A recent media release by the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said it had rescued 13 Chinese nationals who had been trafficked to the country, cut off from contact with their families and the outside world, and forced to engage in illegal activities such as telecom scams and internet gambling.

Since the beginning of 2023, authorities across China have continuously strengthened efforts in combating and controlling illegal criminal activities related to telecommunications fraud, and have been relentless in enhancing public awareness through education and publicity, Xinhua reported.

In 2022, public security organs nationwide conducted numerous specialized operations and successfully solved 464,000 cases, leading to the apprehension of 351 key members and leaders of criminal groups involved in telecommunications fraud, the report said.

Global Times