Procuratorates nationwide approved the arrests of 7, 594 people and filed public lawsuits against 8,516 others accused of being involved in fraud targeting the elderly from April through September this year, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The procuratorates will work closely with other departments to strengthen the crackdown and protect seniors' interests, Zhang Zhijie, a senior official from the SPP's procuratorial committee, said on Wednesday. By the end of last year, there were 267 million people over age 60 in China, accounting for 18.9 percent of the country's population.
Some of the suspects allegedly used various guises to cheat the elderly, bringing great harm to the vulnerable group as well as overall social stability, according to the SPP.
To curb such crimes and protect the legitimate interests of the elderly, China launched a six-month-long national campaign in April to combat fraud targeting them. Eleven departments, including the SPP, the Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Public security, participated in the operation.
Zhang said the SPP supervised the handling of several major cases. It urged prosecutors to recommend severe punishments for ringleaders of groups involved and give mandatory leniency to those who only committed minor related crimes, voluntarily confessed and forfeited their ill-gotten gains.
In committing the fraud, suspects allegedly pretended to be involved in the elderly care industry, claiming to provide care services, attracting investment in related projects or selling products targeting the group, he said.
"Local procuratorates also initiated public interest lawsuits to improve the protection of seniors' personal information, pensions and health insurance, as well as to curb publicity of fake health care products," he added.
Procuratorates have also made full use of the lawsuits and procuratorial suggestions to help industries' administrative departments rectify problems in relevant industries, he said.