AUG 30, 2023
Massive "Money Laundering" Criminal Gang Smashed by Chinese Police, with Gold and Crypto
by 吴说猫弟, WuBlockchain
ps: "Card farmers": individuals who sell their own bank cards to others to provide payment and settlement tools for telecommunications and online fraud criminal activities
In Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, a staggering 8-million-yuan gold transaction was uncovered! What surprised the investigating police the most was that this substantial sum was paid in small increments through card transactions over two days. What secrets lie behind such an unusual payment method? Recently, the Taiyuan police in Shanxi Province cracked down on a criminal gang that used gold transactions to provide "money laundering" services for an online fraud criminal gang. As of now, a total of 15 suspects have been apprehended, involving over 127 cases of telecommunications network fraud nationwide, with involved funds totaling 135 million yuan.
Following the Trail: Precise Identification of the "Card Swiping Team"
In March of this year, the Anti-Fraud Center of the Xinghualing Sub-bureau of the Taiyuan Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shanxi Province stumbled upon a major clue: on March 7th to 8th, a large gold transaction occurred at a gold shop in the Xinghualing District of Taiyuan. Two criminal suspects engaged in fraudulent activities used card swiping to spend over 8 million yuan to purchase nearly 20 kilograms of gold within two consecutive days. The case was significant, prompting the immediate formation of a special task force by the police to initiate investigations. "Card farmers" Han and Zhang were apprehended. However, during the interrogation, it was revealed that these two individuals only provided bank cards and were unaware of the other criminal details. The investigation was quickly shifted, and the task force began conducting interviews. It was discovered that the individuals inquiring at the gold shop and those swiping cards were not the same people. The task force concluded that there must be two separate groups: one responsible for inquiring and contacting the gold shop, and the other responsible for swiping cards to buy gold. The task force divided into two teams and simultaneously launched investigations on both groups.
One team found a "scouting team" consisting of 4 individuals who had conducted inquiries at several gold shops in Taiyuan. Due to their well-disguised identity, their true identities were not discovered. The other team located the "card swiping team" consisting of 3 individuals: one responsible for card swiping, another for keeping watch, and the third for contacting the "card farmers." Through persistent tracking by the investigators, the traces of these 3 individuals were finally discovered at a hotel in Taiyuan. On the morning of March 10th, the task force successfully apprehended the three suspects: Tang, Wang, and Yang.
Thorough Investigation Leads to Capture of the "Scouting Team"
Just as the "card swiping team" was captured, the task force obtained a crucial clue: a man intended to collect the remaining 800,000 yuan worth of gold from the gold shop that very morning. The task force immediately conducted surveillance around the gold shop and successfully apprehended suspect Ni. At the same time, the officers stationed around the gold shop noticed that at the moment of Ni's arrest, two men outside the shop seemed startled and quickly hopped into a taxi, fleeing the scene. The task force swiftly began investigating these two men outside the gold shop. Through further investigation, it was discovered that they were Wang and Liu. After escaping from the gold shop, the two quickly returned to their hotel, drove away from Taiyuan, and were eventually captured in Linfen with the assistance of the Shanxi Traffic Police. With the interrogation, it was revealed that Ni, Wang, and Liu were actually members of the "scouting team." They were all employed by a certain Xie, whose original role was to scout and inquire at gold shops. However, due to the arrest of Tang and others on March 10th, Xie received orders from above to quickly collect the gold from the shop. The task force immediately initiated a search for Xie online.
Deeper Investigation: Uncovering the Criminal Gang
Although the "scouting team" and the "card swiping team" had been apprehended, where had the more than 7 million yuan worth of gold previously taken gone? Following the trail of the gold, two additional criminal suspects came into view for the police. After investigation, it was found that on March 8th, Tang entered a public restroom in a park in Taiyuan carrying a handbag. A few minutes later, another man with the same handbag left the restroom, quickly took a taxi, and headed straight for the Wusu International Airport in Taiyuan. On March 9th, Tang used the same method to hand over another handbag to another man in the restroom of a shopping mall, who also left Taiyuan by plane. Through investigation, it was discovered that these handbags contained gold worth over 7 million yuan.
Through their work, the task force quickly identified the two men as Liu and He, who had landed in Shenzhen after leaving Taiyuan. On March 23rd, the task force sent police officers to Shenzhen to conduct their work. Upon arriving in Shenzhen, three more criminal suspects came into the police's sights. On March 8th and 9th, Liu and He arrived at Shenzhen Airport one after the other, where a man named A took possession of the gold and escorted Liu and He. At the same time, another man named B, who was carrying a handbag, was also escorted by A. Subsequently, A handed the gold over to a man named C, who brought the gold to a gold market in Shenzhen to be sold. With this, the process of "money laundering" by buying and selling gold was complete. Through analysis and judgment, the task force determined that A was the "crypto merchant," B was another "carrier of gold," and C was the seller. With the strong support of local police, the real identities of ABC gradually became clear and they were successfully captured in Chengmai, Hainan.
Heavy Blow: Mastermind Unable to Escape the Law
From scouting and card swiping to gold transportation, selling, and converting into crypto, the criminal chain and organizational structure of the gang had been fully revealed, prompting the task force to act. On March 27th, police officers were dispatched to Chengmai County in Hainan Province to carry out the arrests. On March 28th, police officers successfully apprehended A, Lin Moupeng, in Chengmai County, Hainan. After interrogation, Lin Moupeng confessed to his involvement in "money laundering." Furthermore, the task force discovered that two other suspects, Xiao and Tian, were involved in the "money laundering" process. On March 30th, police officers arrested B, Lin Moubo, in Chengmai County, Hainan.
After suspects from various stages of the criminal process were successively captured, the task force discovered that members from different groups were not acquainted with each other and only received instructions from the overseas "mastermind" through online chatting apps. By combing through the information, all leads pointed to an individual named "Qionghai Awen." After an investigation, the task force quickly identified a man named Deng in Hainan as "Qionghai Awen." The task force immediately traveled to Qionghai City, Hainan Province, and on April 24th, apprehended Deng. With the assistance of other units, the task force also successfully captured the individuals responsible for selling, Tian, the "carrier of gold," Liu, the "crypto merchant," Xiao, and the head of the "scouting team," Xie. With this, the criminal gang that provided "money laundering" services through gold transactions for online fraud has been successfully dismantled.
Nationwide Activities: 135 Million Yuan "Money Laundering" Madness
After a lawful investigation, it was revealed that this criminal gang was led by Deng (male, 31 years old, from Hainan). Starting from early February 2023, the gang began accepting "money laundering" business for funds obtained from overseas fraud and online gambling. The gang was divided into groups for fund reception, scouting, card swiping, gold transportation, "cyrpto merchants," and selling. After Deng established contact with overseas fraud groups for "money laundering" services, he then contacted "card merchants" to find "card farmers" who would receive funds obtained from overseas fraud and online gambling. The scouting team conducted inquiries at various gold shops in search of shops with a large amount of gold in stock. The card swiping and transportation team swiped cards to purchase gold, and then handed the gold to the gold transportation team in a discreet public location. The gold was transferred to Shenzhen and handed over to the "crypto merchant." The "crypto merchant" then had the gold sold and the proceeds converted into crypto, which was then handed over to Deng. Finally, Deng transferred the crypto assets to the overseas fraud group. To evade law enforcement, Deng and his superiors overseas and subordinates within China communicated through overseas chat software and settled payments with cryptocurrency.
Just from March 4th to 9th, the gang purchased 27 kilograms of gold, valued at over 12 million yuan, in Taiyuan. At present, it has been confirmed that the gang was involved in 127 cases of telecommunications fraud nationwide, laundering 135 million yuan for overseas fraud groups. The police have frozen and confiscated 3.479 million yuan in assets, as well as two cars, more than 30 mobile phones, 13 SIM cards, and 9 POS machines used in the crimes. Currently, Deng, Xie, Ni, and 13 other criminal suspects have been transferred to the authorities for investigation and prosecution on charges of concealing and profiting from the proceeds of crime. Han and Zhang have been transferred to authorities in other areas.