Chinese Nationals Admit to Running Cybercrime Syndicate from Zambia

Twenty-two Chinese nationals have pleaded guilty to committing cyber-related crimes in Zambia. They are among 77 suspects arrested in April, connected to what authorities described as a “sophisticated internet fraud syndicate.”

The raid on a Chinese-run company in Lusaka followed a surge in internet fraud cases targeting people worldwide. Local media report that the Chinese nationals are set to be sentenced on Friday.

In April, the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) reported a significant increase in cases of Zambians losing money from their mobile and bank accounts through international money-laundering schemes. Victims in countries including Singapore, Peru, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and various African nations were also targeted.

Dozens of young Zambians were arrested for allegedly being recruited as call-center agents in the fraudulent activities, including internet fraud and online scams. The 22 Chinese nationals, including one female, pleaded guilty to charges of computer-related misrepresentation, identity-related crimes, and illegally operating a network or service after a trial lasting several weeks.

The accused, along with a Cameroonian national, were charged with manipulating people’s identities online to scam them. They held various positions in Golden Top Support Services, the Chinese-run company at the center of the raid, located in Lusaka’s upmarket suburb of Roma. The company has not yet commented on the allegations.

Li Xianlin, the company’s director, was charged with operating the network without a license from Zambian authorities. On Tuesday, the state prosecutor requested more details about the charges be included in court records.

The Zambian nationals charged in April were released on bail to assist with the investigation. Authorities said they were tasked with engaging in deceptive conversations with unsuspecting mobile users across platforms such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and chatrooms, using scripted dialogues.

Seized equipment included devices for disguising callers’ locations and thousands of SIM cards. During the raid, 11 SIM boxes were discovered, capable of routing calls across genuine phone networks. More than 13,000 SIM cards, both local and foreign, were confiscated, demonstrating the operation’s extensive reach, according to the DEC. Additionally, two firearms, 78 rounds of ammunition, and two vehicles linked to a Chinese national involved in the business were impounded.

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Piers Potter


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