Lao, Chinese Authorities Team Up to Bust Online Fraud Dens, Arresting 268 Suspects

Lao, Chinese Authorities Team Up to Bust Online Fraud Dens, Arresting 268 Suspects
China police officers escort telecommunications fraud suspects from a charted plane arriving from Laos at the Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in Henan Province in this file picture from 11 September, 2023. (photo: Li Hao)

Lao and Chinese authorities collaborated to dismantle seven online fraud operations entrenched in Laos, resulting in the arrest of 268 Chinese telecom fraud suspects who were subsequently transferred to China, as announced by China’s Ministry of Public Security on 28 February.

The suspects are accused of involvement in over 1,570 related cases spanning both countries. Among them, eight individuals are suspected masterminds, while 54 others are believed to be key organizers of fraud groups.

Ongoing investigations aim to gather more evidence in these cases.

The Chinese ministry highlighted significant telecom fraud cases in Chinese provinces such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Fujian and identified several transnational telecom network groups operating in Laos linked to over 1,000 fraud cases.

In January, the Chinese ministry dispatched a working group of police officers from provinces including Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Chongqing, Hunan, and Guangdong to Laos. With support and coordination from China’s embassy in Laos, significant progress was made in investigating these cases.

On 21 January, with the assistance of the Chinese working group, Laos authorities cracked down on multiple fraud operations, leading to the arrest of 154 suspects and the seizure of over 2,000 mobile phones and 400 computers.

Based on the working group’s leads, Laos police subsequently apprehended 114 fraud suspects in Vientiane Capital and Luang Prabang Province.

In September last year, Laos’ Ministry of Public Security handed over 164 online fraud suspects to Chinese police at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the ministries of public security from both countries, based on a 2020 Memorandum of Cooperation.

Since 2023, China’s Ministry of Public Security has dispatched working groups to the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, the United Arab Emirates, and other undisclosed countries to implement law enforcement cooperation, vowing to eradicate fraud operations, apprehend fraudsters, and reduce the incidence of telecom scams.