Longgang police Sunday arrested 31 major suspects related to a criminal ring that had allegedly swindled 80 million yuan (US$11.68 million) by fraudulently offering intelligent wrist bands and electric self-balancing scooters for free.
More than 2 million people from across the country have fallen victim to the payment-upon-delivery scheme undertaken by the criminal ring based in Heilongjiang Province.
Police recently received a report from Huawei Technologies on Aug. 13, saying it might have been victimized by a criminal ring offering so-called intelligent wrist bands and electric self-balancing scooters with forged Huawei logos for free and only collecting 29 yuan for fees covering courier, storage and labor costs. However, the victims never received any wrist bands or scooters, instead they got plastic models that were worth only several yuan. Huawei claimed it had never organized such a promotional event.
The intelligent wrist bands and electric self-balancing scooters are generally sold for more than 1,000 yuan on the market, making the offer by the criminal ring very attractive to many people.
After a 20-day investigation, police found the suspects had registered several companies in Heilongjiang Province since 2015 and committed fraud to cheat customers into paying by offering watches, shirts and even shoes for free. After the victims paid the fees, they received shoddy products. This June, the suspects started the new scheme of offering free Huawei intelligent wrist bands to cheat customers. Hundreds of people were involved in the scam, most of whom are in their 20s, according to the police.
In two separate actions Sept. 3 and 5, more than 120 police officers in Shenzhen traveled thousands of kilometers to detain hundreds of the suspects in Harbin and Putian in Fujian Province. More than 3,000 phones and laptops used in the scams were seized.