China to help Kenya break phone scam

Updated: 2014-12-05 21:23

By Li Lianxing and Hou Liqiang in Nairobi, Kenya(

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Seventy-seven people arrested in Nairobi may be involved in a phone scam ring, and China will cooperate with Kenyan authorities in the investigation and aid in its efforts to bring those responsible to justice, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news conference in Beijing on Friday.

"We also hope Kenyan authorities will ensure Chinese citizens' lawful rights, and process this case in a just and lawful manner," she said.

Kenyan police found a large stash of unregistered telecommunication equipment in a villa near the office of United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi while investigating a fire that killed a Chinese national. The find led to the arrest of the 77 suspects.

Sources said one of the suspects is a Thai passport holder and the rest are from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

Phone fraud gang's operating in China have previously been found in various regions on the mainland and Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore. This case could signal a relocation of such crime rings to Africa.

China had more than 300,000 telecommunication fraud cases in 2013, resulting in a loss of more than 10 billion yuan ($1.63 billion), according to Chinese National Congress deputy Chen Weicai.

Criminals, usually claiming to be from the police, a court or bank, would telephone Chinese citizens and try to persuade them to transfer money to bank accounts. Using special technologies, they could make the telephone number of the police, court or bank appear on the victim's cellphone to make the call seem genuine.

In October, Egyptian police broke up a phone fraud ring and arrested 96 Chinese suspects, 56 of them from the Chinese mainland, police said, and the rest from Taiwan.

In May, police in Fujian province uncovered two phone fraud gangs. In one case, a woman surnamed Shi was defrauded of more than 6 million yuan. She said she had been called repeatedly starting on March 30 by people claiming to be post office, public security bureau or procuratorate officials. The callers would say that Shi was suspected of being victimized by money laundering scammers and had to transfer her money to safe accounts.

Thirty-five suspects were arrested and two gangs broken up — in Indonesia and Kenya. when they received the money, they would transfer it to Taiwan.

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