China's public security authorities have intensified cooperation with counterparts abroad in combating telecom and online fraud and have become a useful reference in the struggle against the crime, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Telecom fraud is a common transnational form of organized crime that has become a global public hazard, with scammers often targeting citizens from a different country, seriously infringing on their rights and interests and the security of their property. To curb the crime, China's police have strengthened international cooperation and achieved remarkable results. Police from a number of countries have also sought international cooperation on multiple occasions in the hopes that Chinese police can share their experience of fighting telecom fraud, said the ministry.
For example, under the Interpol framework, Chinese police worked with police from 76 countries to combat fraud between March and June this year, leading to the discovery of 1,770 hideouts located in various countries, the apprehension of over 2,000 suspects and the interception of more than $50 million in illicit funds.
Telecom fraud has become specialized, industrialized, collectivized and internationalized as a result of the rapid development of global information technology. It is a major challenge for police worldwide and a difficult problem facing governments, said an official with the ministry.
"It is the common responsibility of police from all countries as well as the broad consensus of the international community to cooperate on combating transnational telecom and online fraud," he said.
China's public security organs have established an efficient system with the participation of multiple departments, and have carried out a series of special operations to curtail the occurrence of online fraud.
In addition, China's top legislative body recently approved a new law on telecom and online fraud, which will come into effect on Dec 1 to strengthen the fight against fraud and those aiding fraudsters, through the application of harsher punishment.
According to the ministry, the number of telecom and online fraud cases had decreased month-on-month since June last year, with about 80 percent of cases filed committed abroad.
As many Chinese citizens who engage in fraud overseas were either tempted to do so through the promise of great rewards or encouraged to leave the country on false pretenses, with some even kidnapped, detained, beaten, or even killed by fraudsters, Chinese authorities have actively worked with their counterparts abroad to rescue citizens or persuade them to return to China. Authorities are also doing their best to offer assistance and job placements to those who do choose to return.
Between April 2021 and July 2022, police nationwide resolved about 594,000 telecom and online fraud cases, and 230,000 people involved were re-educated or persuaded to return from overseas, significantly reducing the number of Chinese nationals going abroad to commit crimes against Chinese citizens, according to the ministry.
Immigration departments have also taken measures to restrict the exit of those previously convicted of telecom fraud in accordance with the Exit and Entry Administration Law.
In August, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the ministry issued a circular urging the leaders and main players in telecom and online fraud to surrender by offering lighter punishment to those who voluntarily surrender and confess their crimes before Sept 30.