OFFICERS with Huaqiangbei Police Station in Futian District arrested three suspects for allegedly blackmailing online shop owners for more than 1 million yuan (US$153,182) by fabricating copyright infringement cases, according to a release from the Futian District Public Security Sub-bureau on Tuesday.
The station received a report Aug. 14 from a clockware shop owner in Huaqiangbei, saying a Dongguan company had asked his company to pay it 30,000 yuan, since it claimed that the products and photos on the clockware company’s online shop had infringed on their copyrights.
The Dongguan company claimed to have complained to Taobao.com and asked the operator to not only close, but also punish the shop if the clockware company refused to pay a certain amount of money as compensation.
For fear of their business being affected, the clockware company transferred 30,000 yuan through Alipay to the Dongguan company. However, they felt cheated and reported the incident to police.
Police, in cooperation with Alibaba’s cyber security team, located and arrested the three suspects in Humen, Dongguan City, after a two-week investigation.
Police also seized fake business certificates and seals at the blackmailers’ office in Dongguan.
The investigation showed that one of the suspects, surnamed Xia, was responsible for forging business certificates and seals of some real companies, and the other two female suspects, identified as Li and Fang, were responsible for targeting certain online shops to blackmail under the threat of reporting them to e-commerce operators for copyright infringement. Some online-shop owners paid a ransom for fear of their business being affected.
The ring had made an illicit income of more than 1 million yuan since they started the extortion last September, according to the police investigation.