HomeAustraliaWill China's scam crackdown have any effect in Australia?

Will China’s scam crackdown have any effect in Australia?

Earlier this month, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced the latest raids in an ongoing campaign targeting fraudulent operations outside the country’s borders.

On September 3, Chinese police launched a joint offensive with local authorities to “take down” cyber fraud groups across the border in northern Myanmar “in one fell swoop,” a ministry statement said.

They reportedly shut down 11 fraudulent operations and arrested 269 suspects who had obtained at least 120 million yuan ($25 million) through financial investment and other scams, including impersonating e-commerce customer service personnel.

“A large number of criminal tools were seized at the scene, including computers, mobile phones, mobile phone cards, bank cards and fraud scripts,” the statement said.

A few days later, the Wa State United Army in northern Myanmar repatriated another 1,200 Chinese nationals suspected of being part of online scams.

Raids similar to those in Myanmar have occurred in recent weeks in Laos and Thailand and as far away as Indonesia, the ministry says.

The Chinese blockbuster No More Bets depicts life inside a fraudulent call center in an unnamed Southeast Asian country.(Supplied)

“Deeply disgusted by the general public”

Why is China trying so hard to close these operations?

It’s not just Australians who have been plagued by scams in recent years.

They are a huge problem and a growing concern for the Chinese public, especially since many of those working in the call centers include Chinese nationals lured with the promise of legitimate work and then held against their will.

Some of those who escaped from the scam centers have described being threatened, beaten or tortured.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights last month released a report that found that 120,000 people in Myanmar and 100,000 in Cambodia “may be detained in situations where they are forced to carry out online scams.”

The Cambodian government rejected the report’s conclusions.

The issue was highlighted in a recent blockbuster Chinese film, No More Bets, in which a Chinese programmer and model are forced to work in a boiler room of fraud and online gambling in an unnamed southeastern country. Asian.

According to the ministry, the actions of the criminal networks that organize the scams caused “the deep displeasure of the general public.”

“Public security organs will further intensify their repression efforts and resolutely safeguard the safety of people’s lives and properties,” he said.

Barbed wire

Fraudulent call center compounds are often surrounded by walls covered in barbed wire.(Supplied: Ngo Minh Hieu )

Fraudulent operations grow in size and professionalism

Richard Horsey, senior Myanmar adviser at the International Crisis Group, said fraudulent operations in the region really “kickstarted” during the pandemic.

Lockdowns and border closures forced criminal networks (many of which were involved in casinos) to look for alternative sources of income while leaving migrant workers trapped in foreign countries and desperate for work.

“It’s just been incredible to see over the last few years how they’ve grown in scale and scope, and also how much they’ve become more professional,” he said.

Computers in a scam complex.

A photo provided by a victim shows rows and rows of computers at a fraudulent call center in Cambodia.(Supplied)

While there were now scam call centers operating across Southeast Asia, he said they were particularly concentrated in weakly governed countries such as Cambodia, Laos and especially civil war-torn Myanmar, which has large lawless areas controlled by separatist groups.

Horsey said the scammers not only targeted Chinese speakers, but recruited them from as far away as South America and Europe.

“There are many different languages ​​and also many different professional skills,” he said.

“They have computer coders, they have scriptwriters who create call center manuals.

“It’s very, very professional. And yes, they target people all over the world.”

Source by [author_name]

- Advertisment -