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Δευτέρα, 27 Μαΐου, 2024

Online scams by Chinese groups affect several countries

Περισσότερα Νέα

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Online scams that have been uncovered globally in recent months have had a common link; it is the involvement of Chinese elements. Many countries have detained, arrested or deported Chinese nationals who carried out cross-border internet fraud syndicates. Concerns are growing over the fast proliferation of such scammer Chinese groups in different countries.

As many as 22 Chinese nationals were arrested by Zambian authorities for conning people using Telegram and WhatsApp platforms. The internet scam was carried out by a Chinese company operating in Zambia on the pretext of being a call centre. Zambian authorities seized 13,000 SIM cards and 11 SIM boxes to disguise the caller’s location.

In the latest raid, Myanmar police 807 people in relation to financial cybercrimes, of which 486 were locals while 352 were Chinese nationals.

The money generated through online fraud is being used to aggravate the civil war in Myanmar. The Chinese scammer gangs deceive people by persuading them to deposit money in fake investments.

In 2023, tens of thousands of Chinese people were arrested and deported to their home country by Myanmar’s security agencies. The number was over 40,000 in 2022. “It is likely that China and its policies are unable to control its borders very well. There are illegal crossings in some points,” said Hla Kyaw Zaw, a China-based political observer.

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A court in Los Angeles sentenced two Chinese persons to punishment of long-duration imprisonment in a telephone scam that had links with the China-based scam group named ‘Magic Lamp’. They laundered proceeds of fraud stored on Target gift cards. “The defendants acquired more than 5,000 gift card numbers and access codes from a group in the People’s Republic of China,” reads a press release by the US Department of Justice.

People of Nepal too have been duped by the fraudulent groups from China using tactics of online lottery, loans and investments. Nepal Police arrested nine Chinese nationals recently with strong evidence of their involvement in online scams. “Earlier, the police would be short of evidence as they would be found to be running a call centre or doing some other legitimate activities. But this time we have enough evidence,” said senior Nepal police officer Manoj KC.

Online fishing by Chinese groups used romance as a tool to dupe young people in Indonesia. They trapped Indonesian youth into a trap of romantic relationships online and asked for money and personal information. Later they blackmailed the victims with threats of making intimate videos recorded during video calls public. In 2023, Indonesia deported 153 Chinese nationals, who made USD 1.3 million from romance fraud, back to China.

“Love scams are an organised crime with a very large investment. The profit from this crime is also huge,” said Krishna Murti, a senior Indonesian police official. The Chinese fraudsters managed to make the victims pay money through the manipulation of human emotion, police said.

Experts fear that advancements in internet technology may make Chinese scamming operations more powerful. “They could use artificial intelligence to create fake videos and photos and fool victims who lack digital literacy,” said Jakarta-based security analyst Pratama Dahlian Persadha.

Laos exposed scamming operations by Chinese elements, especially, in the country’s Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GTSEZ). It sent a few hundred Chinese scammers back to China. “I hope that the number of Chinese scammers continues to dwindle in the Golden Triangle SEZ and throughout the country,” one person told Radio Free Asia.

Laos now is concerned about an influx of Chinese scammers to the country in the wake of action by the Myanmar government. “There have been growing concerns that many of these scam groups might opt to relocate their operations to Laos,” said an official. “Embassies are monitoring the situation closely to protect their own citizens.”

South Korea, India, and Uzbekistan are among the countries that are affected by Chinese scammers, who duped their citizens online. Many Indian citizens have fallen victim to fraudulent online loan apps operated by Chinese nationals, causing financial exploitation and privacy breaches.

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