36 held for on­line fraud in Hangzhou

Shanghai Daily - - NATIONAL - Xu Wen­wen

PO­LICE in Hangzhou City in east China’s Zhe­jiang Province said yes­ter­day that they have de­tained 36 sus­pects who were be­lieved to have swin­dled US$ 6.6 mil­lion from more than 200 over­seas com­pa­nies through an on­line scam at the B2B plat­form of Alibaba.com.

Hangzhou po­lice busted seven gangs in­volv­ing 36 peo­ple, mostly univer­sity stu­dents with a good com­mand of English and In­ter­net skills.

Of­fi­cers have ob­tained plenty of elec­tronic ev­i­dence from the sus­pects’ com­put­ers and so far man­aged to con­tact 208 vic­tims from coun­tries and re­gions in­clud­ing the United King­dom, Aus­tralia and Ar­gentina, po­lice said.

From last Oc­to­ber, Hangzhou- based Alibaba. com, China’s big­gest on­line B2B plat­form, kept re­ceiv­ing com­plaints from over­seas users about the al­leged swin­dling. The com­pany called in Hangzhou po­lice early this year.

Po­lice im­me­di­ately set up a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team and soon tar­geted dozens of sus­pects in the south­east­ern Fu­jian Province.

In co­op­er­a­tion with their coun­ter­parts in Fu­jian, Hangzhou po­lice went into ac­tion in March, nab­bing 36 sus­pects and con­fis­cat­ing 35 com­put­ers and 60 fake ID cards at their hide­outs in Longyan, Xi­a­men and Pu­tian cities.

Ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tions found the sus­pects stole ac­count in­for­ma­tion of re­puted Chi­nese com­pany users on the Alibaba plat­form or bought such in­for­ma­tion from on­line hack­ers.

They then bought fake ID cards to ap­ply for bankcards and lured over­seas com­pany users on the B2B plat­form with forged trade in­for­ma­tion un­der the name of those Chi­nese com­pany users, Hangzhou po­lice said.

The sus­pects usu­ally posted pic­tures of goods, mostly best­selling elec­tronic prod­ucts, on their on­line stores with prices merely one-third of the orig­i­nal to at­tract over­seas clients, po­lice added.

Af­ter the over­seas clients inked the deal and re­mit­ted the pay­ment, the sus­pects would send in­fe­rior prod­ucts or sim­ply dis­ap­pear, ac­cord­ing to Hangzhou po­lice.

“Most of the sus­pects are col­lege grad­u­ates flu­ent in English and that’s the rea­son why the vic­tims trusted them,” said Yu Weimin, the chief of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Di­vi­sion of the Hangzhou Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Bureau.

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