Computer Security Zambian Court Sentences 22 Chinese Nationals for...

Zambian Court Sentences 22 Chinese Nationals for Multinational Cybercrimes

A court in Zambia sentenced 22 Chinese nationals to lengthy prison terms on Friday for their involvement in cybercrimes, including internet fraud and online scams. These scams targeted victims in Zambia, Singapore, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.

Sentencing and Fines

The Magistrates Court in Lusaka handed down sentences ranging from seven to eleven years. In addition to prison terms, the court imposed fines between $1,500 and $3,000 on the offenders. The accused had pleaded guilty to charges of computer-related misrepresentation, identity fraud, and illegally operating a network or service. A Cameroonian national was also sentenced and fined for similar charges.

Background and Arrests

The convicted individuals were part of a larger group of 77 people arrested in April. The majority of those arrested were Zambians. Police described the group as a "sophisticated internet fraud syndicate."

Investigation and Raid

The investigation began after a noticeable increase in cyber-related fraud cases. Numerous complaints were received from people who had mysteriously lost money from their mobile phones or bank accounts.

In April, officers from the drug enforcement commission, police, immigration department, and anti-terrorism unit conducted a raid on a Chinese-run business in an affluent area of Lusaka. The raid resulted in the arrest of 77 individuals and the recovery of over 13,000 local and foreign mobile phone SIM cards, two firearms, and 78 rounds of ammunition.

The Role of Golden Top Support Services

The business at the center of the raid, Golden Top Support Services, had employed Zambians aged between 20 and 25. These employees were reportedly unaware of the fraudulent activities and were using the SIM cards to engage in deceptive conversations with unsuspecting mobile users across various platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, and chat rooms, following scripted dialogues.

This case highlights the growing issue of cybercrime and the efforts by Zambian authorities to tackle it. The sentences handed down by the court serve as a significant deterrent to those involved in such illegal activities.