Over 34,000 telecom fraud cases prosecuted by Chinese authorities in first ten months, predominantly involving young, low-income, low-education individuals

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30th November 2023 – (Beijing) Chinese prosecution authorities have stepped up efforts to combat and control telecommunications and Internet fraud, as well as associated crimes, according to a report released by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on 30th November 2023. The report provided a systemic analysis of the current main trends in telecommunication and Internet fraud and associated crimes, issuing a risk warning and suggestions in response to the severe situation of these crimes.

As the crackdown, particularly overseas arrests, has intensified, the procuratorial organs have seen a significant increase in the prosecution of telecommunication and Internet fraud cases. From January to October 2023, procuratorial organs nationwide prosecuted over 34,000 individuals implicated in such crimes, a year-on-year increase of nearly 52%.

Prosecutions for aiding and abetting cybercrime are still at a high level, but the growth rate is gradually slowing. Meanwhile, prosecutions for concealing and disguising the proceeds of crime have surged, becoming the second most common associated crime in telecommunications and Internet fraud, following aiding and abetting. Moreover, prosecutions for obstructing national (border) management have rapidly increased, becoming a frequently occurring crime in the chain of telecommunication and Internet fraud.

The criminals typically feature low age, low income, and low education levels. However, the number of participants with higher education levels committing these crimes is on the rise. In the first three quarters of 2023, among those prosecuted for telecommunications and Internet fraud, aiding and abetting, and concealment, there were over 4,400, 5,900, and 7,600 individuals with higher education (including undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees), respectively.

In dealing with criminals arrested overseas, the prosecution authorities are following each case closely, arresting and prosecuting as necessary, strictly proposing sentencing suggestions, and intensifying efforts to recover funds. In the Sichuan Nanchong “4·01” case jointly supervised by the Supreme Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, the prosecution has charged over 430 individuals, involving multiple fraud gangs in Northern Myanmar. In the jointly supervised Zhejiang “12·30” case, 11 main offenders have been captured, with four sentenced. The main organiser, Ge, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the first instance, with all personal property confiscated and political rights revoked for life. The other three main culprits were sentenced to at least ten years’ imprisonment, forming a powerful deterrent.

The Supreme Procuratorate stated that the prosecution authorities will further strengthen international law enforcement and judicial cooperation. They will focus on key regions, major groups, and significant cases, thoroughly investigate case clues, and severely crack down on the organisers, leaders, behind-the-scenes masterminds, and key members of overseas fraud groups. They will continue to send strong signals of severe punishment to those who provide personnel smuggling, money laundering, technical services, criminal venues, and management services for these groups. The general public should effectively enhance their awareness and ability to prevent fraud, firmly adhere to the principles of “not easily believing, not being greedy, not clicking, not disclosing, not transferring funds”.