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Police bust telecom fraud operations

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-12 07:27

Police in Guangdong province have detained 910 suspects after busting 80 gangs they say were involved in telecom fraud, theft and robbery, in two crackdowns launched in late April and early May.

Many bank cards, cellphones and cash machines were seized, Zhang Rui, political commissar of the Guangdong Public Security Department's Criminal Investigation Bureau, said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Thursday.

"Fraudsters seize every opportunity to con their victims, and residents should improve their awareness to guard against being taken in by scams," he said. "Police will spare no effort to fight against these criminals."

Zhang said new measures will be introduced to combat online and telecom fraud as criminals upgrade their methods to target victims, such as asking people to send congratulatory baskets to friends and family for special events.

A woman surnamed Lu contacted police this year after she paid 7,840 yuan ($1,150) to send a congratulatory basket to a man she met on a dating website. Lu said the man asked her to send a basket as a gift for the opening of his new store. But after she sent the money to what she thought was a local flower store, the man broke off contact.

Lu was not alone, Zhang said. Police detained more than 140 suspects after busting 20 gangs that tricked victims into sending baskets, flowers or gifts for special occasions. Fifty-three locations were raided and 683 bank cards, 271 cellphones, 13 vehicles, 40 computers and 64 cash machines were seized.

Zhang also urged people not to be duped by online ads for medicines that promise to improve sexual performance or enlarge breasts.

More than 8,680 people have been defrauded by the gangs, and the cases involve more than 27 million yuan.

Fang Wenshan, a Guangzhou woman, called for more effective measures against the crimes.

"Many of my friends and neighbors have been defrauded or encountered online and telephone fraud in the past months," she said.

Zhang said his province has made great progress in the fraud fight over a number of years. Online fraud in Guangdong fell by 29.3 percent year-on-year between January and April. The number of suspects detained increased 48 percent year-on-year during the time.

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