40 telecom fraud criminals penalized
2018-08-04 08:59:00

Perpetrators, including five from Taiwan, cheated money from mainland residents

Forty defendants, including five from Taiwan, who participated in telecom fraud after going to Kenya, received criminal penalties and fines on Friday in Beijing.

The Haidian District People's Court in the capital handed down the sentences, ranging from three to 12 years in prison, for the crime of telecom fraud, as well as ordered them to pay fines, which were not specified in the court ruling.

The court stated that the defendants joined telecom fraud groups after arriving in Kenya between September and November 2014, swindling money from residents living on the Chinese mainland by pretending to be medical insurance officers, healthcare authorities, prosecutors or police officers.

"The defrauders took advantage of telecoms to forge facts, telling the residents to transfer money to save a problematic medical insurance policy or protect their leaked personal information," the court said in the judgment.

Twenty victims were cheated out of more than 1.22 million yuan ($177,000).

The offenders were caught and taken to China from Kenya in August 2016, and all of them confessed. The case was heard at the court in April.

Under the law, the mainland has the jurisdiction to punish the Taiwan residents as they targeted people on the mainland.

It was not the first time that such a cross-border telecom fraud case was heard in Beijing. Last year, the capital's No 2 Intermediate People's Court sentenced 85 people to prison for terms ranging from 21 months to 15 years.

From the beginning of 2014 to now, Beijing courts have concluded more than 40 telecom fraud cases, including eight cross-border ones, according to Jiang Nan, a judge at the court in Haidian.

In the cases, 300 defendants were given punishments, and more than 900 people encountered economic losses of over 10 million yuan in total, Jiang said.

"A majority of the criminals perpetrated the frauds by pretending to be governmental officials, and many cheated victims out of money by asking them to upgrade credit cards," she said.

Some offenders got the victims' personal information, such as phone and bank card numbers, through online purchases, she said.

For example, a man surnamed Xu illegally got 146,000 yuan by telecom fraud after buying more than 20,000 pieces of personal information via instant messaging program QQ and express delivery companies. He was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for fraud and leaking citizens' private information.

"We must be alert when receiving calls from strangers, especially when someone says they work for a judicial department," Jiang suggested.

Source:China Daily Editor:Hiram