22 Chinese nationals sentenced to long prison terms in Zambia for multinational cybercrimes


LUSAKA, Zambia - A Zambian court sentenced 22 Chinese nationals to prison terms of seven to 11 years on Friday. The individuals were convicted for a series of cybercrimes, including internet fraud and online scams that targeted victims in Zambia, Singapore, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.

Image: AP Photo 

The convicts, who pleaded guilty to charges of computer-related misrepresentation, identity fraud, and illegally operating a network or service, were also fined between $1,500 and $3,000. A Cameroonian man faced similar charges and penalties.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation into a "sophisticated internet fraud syndicate" that led to the arrest of 77 people in April, the majority of whom were Zambians. 

The probe was initiated by Nason Banda, the director-general of the drug enforcement commission, following a surge in cyber-related fraud cases and numerous complaints of unexplained losses from mobile phones or bank accounts.

In a coordinated operation in April, officers from the commission, police, the immigration department, and the anti-terrorism unit raided a Chinese-run business in an upscale Lusaka suburb. 

The raid resulted in the arrest of the 77 individuals, including those sentenced on Friday, and the recovery of over 13,000 local and foreign mobile phone SIM cards, two firearms, and 78 rounds of ammunition.

The business, known as Golden Top Support Services, had employed Zambians aged between 20 and 25 to engage in deceptive conversations with unsuspecting mobile users across various platforms, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and chat rooms, using scripted dialogues. The local employees have since been released on bail.

Post a Comment