Police: China Internet Fraud Laws Are Weak
Chinese police complain they have few legal tools to prosecute ballooning Internet fraud, despite the country's fierce reputation for strictly controlling online content.
Officers investigated 20,000 allegations of Internet fraud last year, but relatively few resulted in prosecutions because China's laws don't sufficiently address cybercrime, officials said in comments reprinted Monday by the Xinhua News Agency.
"Because the laws are out-of-date, the degree to which we can attack is not very great," said Xu Jianzhuo, deputy director of the Public Security Ministry's Bureau of Internet Security.
That admission, first reported by Outlook magazine last week, contrasts sharply with China's stringent restrictions on Internet speech, including harsh prison sentences for people who discuss sensitive political or social issues online.
While police can act against clear-cut cases of illegal pornography and gambling, they said they have few weapons against online criminals who steal bank account numbers and other personal information or cheat consumers with offers of phone sex or other phony services.
Of the 11,521 cases of alleged Internet crime brought before courts between 1997 and 2005, just 14 resulted in criminal convictions, Li Jingjing of the ministry's Bureau of Security Solutions was quoted as saying. Others resulted merely in administrative punishments such as having business licenses withdrawn, Li said.
Even when investigations are successful, prosecution can be thwarted by the diffuse nature of the Internet and the reluctance of victims to come forward.
In one case, police sought to help people get back money from a Web site that purported to sell exam answers, but not a single person admitted to paying for the phony service.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at. Hundreds of new articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or) For more news from Associated Press, please go to: