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Two Chinese Among 12 Arrested By Delhi Police For Duping Over 40K Indians Online

New Delhi: As many as 12 people including 2 Chinese nationals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a multi-level marketing (MLM) and for pushing malware through malicious mobile applications (apps) in the national capital.

The arrested Indian nationals told police that two Chinese nationals, Yangqing Zhang aka Jonathan and Bao Peng aka Eric, are the masterminds behind this gang of cheats that targeted Indian citizens and hack into their devices through malevolent mobile apps.

The Delhi Police said that these two accused are likely to be operating from a foreign location. 

“They launched this ‘online programme’ to induce and cheat the maximum number of people by promising profitable returns based on a multi-level marketing scheme. In the centre of this scheme, they designed and circulated malware to illegally capture the personal information of innocent people for illegitimate use,” Anyesh Roy, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime Unit (CyPAD), Delhi Police.

They also created mega social media influencers in a clandestine manner, by promising cash incentives for ‘follows’ and ‘likes’, on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

The inducement was regarding daily commission earning of up to Rs 3,000 in less than 30 minutes of time spent on the App. 

Roy said that analysis of the money trail revealed that the amount was being routed to various Indian bank accounts.

“Malware analysis of the Mobile App NEWWORLD.APK, reported that several dangerous permissions were being obtained by this App. The App was flagged as Malware by a reputed Anti-Virus. The malware App was accessing Users’ contact book and sending messages to their contacts,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, a complaint was received from a victim of this fraud, wherein it was alleged that she was cheated of an amount of Rs 50,000 by using an app, which she got in the form of a link through her colleague.

“This app was not listed on Google Play Store. By means of the website, an Apk file used to be downloaded. Therefore, a basic security check that is usually in Play Store wasn’t there. And that is why there was a greater malicious intent,” DCP Anyesh Roy told reporters at a press brief.

The Delhi Police said that during probe it was found that the defrauded money was being routed to the same bank accounts. 

Accordingly, an FIR was registered under various sections of the IT Act and IPC, and investigation taken up by Cyber Crime Unit (CyPAD), Special Cell.

During the investigation, it was found that the defrauded money was being routed to multiple bank accounts registered in the name of various Pvt. Ltd companies. The addresses of these companies and the profile of their Indian Directors raised suspicion.

In some of the companies, Chinese nationals were found to be the main Directors at various points of time.

The money trail analysis revealed that the defrauded money was being laundered through multiple shell companies and through Crypto-wallets. 

The key operatives behind these shell companies were identified through the field and technical surveillance and the accused were arrested on Wednesday in simultaneous multiple raids conducted at several locations across Delhi-NCR.

A cash amount of Rs 25.42 lakh of the defrauded money has been recovered from the possession of the Chinese nationals. 12 Bank Accounts, Crypto-Wallets, and Payment Gateway IDs have been blocked and a total of Rs. 4.75 crore of the defrauded money has been frozen, police said.

The accused have also used the cheated money to purchase Crypto-currency (Tether) and over the last two weeks, crypto-transactions worth over Rs 4.5 Crores have been made to siphon out the funds. 

The Payment Gateway used by the accused has confirmed a total of 39,781 victims who have been defrauded by this App till now.

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