Court Sentences 22 Chinese Nationals for Cybercrimes

A court has handed down lengthy prison sentences to 22 Chinese nationals for their involvement in cybercrimes, which included defrauding individuals in various countries such as Zambia, Singapore, Peru, and the UAE. 

The Lusaka Magistrate's court issued sentences ranging from seven to eleven years and imposed fines between $1,500 and $3,000 after the accused pleaded guilty to charges of computer-related misrepresentation, identity fraud, and the illegal operation of networks or services. 

A Cameroonian man received a similar sentence and fine. These individuals were among 77 people arrested in April, most of whom were Zambians, as part of a crackdown on a sophisticated internet fraud syndicate.

The Director-General of the Drug Enforcement Commission, Nason Banda, revealed that the investigation began due to a surge in cyber-related fraud complaints, with many victims reporting unexplained losses from their mobile phones or bank accounts.

In a coordinated operation in April, officers from the Drug Enforcement Commission, police, immigration, and anti-terrorism units raided a Chinese-operated business in Lusaka, arresting 77 individuals, including those sentenced. The raid resulted in the seizure of over 13,000 local and foreign SIM cards, two firearms, and 78 rounds of ammunition.

The business, Golden Top Support Services, had employed young Zambians to engage in fraudulent conversations on platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram, using scripted dialogues. These Zambian employees were released on bail following the raid.

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