Internet Crime Crackdown Leads to 60,000 Arrests

Source: ChinaDaily

A total of 208 telecom fraud suspects are escorted from a plane at Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport, Hebei province, on Thursday. Returned from the Philippines, they have been connected to about 1,000 cases. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese public security authorities cracked more than 45,000 cybercrime cases and arrested over 60,000 suspects in the first 10 months of this year during an ongoing campaign to clean up the internet, the Ministry of Public Security said at a news conference on Thursday.

Almost 30,000 cases related to illegal infringement of people's personal information, hacking, fraud and spreading pornography were cracked, with over 37,000 suspects arrested for involvement in such cases, said Wang Yingwei, Party chief of the ministry's cybersecurity bureau.

The special one-year campaign, launched by the ministry in January, aims to crack down on cybercrimes, including the stealing and trading of personal information, hacking and online gambling.

"In recent years, police have been encountering new types of cybercrime, especially with the emergence of crimes related to the dark web," Wang said. "Although the concealment offered by the dark web poses a challenge to the police, we will intensify the crackdown on such crimes."

Sixteen cases related to dark web crimes were filed nationwide this year, with 25 suspects arrested. Police said two had been sentenced to jail and 23 are in criminal detention.

During the campaign, police also intensified the crackdown on online loan scams and punished a number of companies that provided technological support and data services to online peer-to-peer lending platforms.

In a typical case, a man surnamed Song told police in Qitaihe, Heilongjiang province, on May 25 that after he borrowed 1,500 yuan ($210) from a mobile loan app the platform recommended 55 other loan apps and enticed him to repay the loan with a new loan.

Five months later, Song owed 350,000 yuan. After the platform found out that he could not repay his debts it made harassing phone calls, sent threatening letters and harassed his family and friends for repayment.

Qitaihe police established a special team to crack down on the scam. It busted nine gangs, arrested 80 suspects and froze over 700 million yuan in illegal assets.

Based on evidence discovered during the operation in Qitaihe, the ministry's cybersecurity bureau launched a nationwide crackdown. Since September, police involved in the wider operation have busted 147 gangs and arrested 1,531 suspects.

China is home to more internet users than any other country. A recent report by the China Internet Network Information Center said it has 829 million internet users-almost 60 percent of the country's population.

In Guangzhou, police detained 44 suspects after cracking down on the country's largest case involving the production and sale of malicious WeChat plug-in software, used by online fraudsters to create vast numbers of fake WeChat accounts. Police also seized more than 650,000 WeChat accounts related to such crimes.

"Remarkable outcomes have been achieved through the campaign, but we will continue to crack down on cybercrimes and improve our internet security management capability to ensure a safe and healthy internet environment," Wang said.