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China strengthens efforts to curb cross-border online fraud

By CAO YIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-08-26 06:43

Joint action sees 11 arrests, cooperation increased with regional counterparts

Eleven online fraud suspects were recently brought back to China from Myanmar thanks to joint efforts by the two countries to combat such crimes, the Ministry of Public Security said on Friday.

The suspects, hiding in Myawaddy in southeastern Myanmar, were captured by local police and then escorted by police officers from Chongqing and Anhui and Zhejiang provinces back to China, according to the ministry.

China has intensified the fight against telecom and online fraud over the past few years, forcing many swindlers to transfer their criminal operations to other countries in the region including Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines, it said.

The fraudsters have cheated Chinese people through deceptions such as false investments and online loans, the ministry added.

Northern Myanmar and the Golden Triangle, an area that comprises parts of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, are two major hiding places of the fraudsters, it said.

"We've attached great importance to fighting such fraud, because it can result in other severe crimes such as illegal detention, kidnapping and human trafficking," the ministry said.

To safeguard people's legitimate rights and protect their assets, the ministry has not only worked with other Chinese departments to strengthen crime-fighting efforts, but also joined hands with their counterparts in Southeast Asian countries to take joint action.

In June 2022, the ministry along with China's top judicial authorities — the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate — began harshly punishing fraudsters, especially key members of fraud gangs.

Since the beginning of this year, the ministry has dispatched teams to countries including the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos for cooperation on international law enforcement, with severe crackdowns on telecom fraud and human trafficking. So far, more than 300 suspects have been captured, according to data released by the ministry on Friday.

In recent weeks, the fight against cross-border online fraud and associated crimes has featured frequently in the Chinese media, and drawn huge interest from the public.

On Tuesday, the ambassadors of China, Thailand and Laos held a meeting to discuss ways to enhance cooperation on combating illegal gambling and fraud in the region. Such crimes have become rampant in the region and have seriously damaged the lives and assets of residents in their countries.

On Aug 15, officials from the top public security departments of China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos jointly launched a campaign in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to combat online fraud and gambling-related offenses.

Meanwhile, this month, No More Bets, a popular anti-fraud film based on real cases, has helped raise Chinese people's awareness about the issue and triggered discussion on overseas online fraud.

China's steps to fight and prevent such fraud have been strengthened in various areas.

The first anti-fraud law took effect in December 2022, and many internet platforms have also boosted the protection of their users' personal information by upgrading technologies.

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