More than 200 suspects involved in Myanmar-based cyber scams have been detained by police in one of the largest joint crackdowns between Beijing and the Southeast Asian country, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced on Tuesday.

The operation brought down 11 cyber scam bases in northern Myanmar, where 269 fraud suspects were detained, including 186 Chinese nationals who have been repatriated, according to a statement from the ministry.

Among those detained were 21 people who played key roles in scams involving RMB120 million ($16.5 million).

The operation is the latest in China’s efforts to root out Myanmar-based gangs that frequently target Chinese nationals, luring them with investment schemes and promises of love or employment, then detaining them and forcing them to work as phone operators, computer programmers, and other jobs as part of online scams.

Last month, China vowed to crack down on cybercrime by collaborating with Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. The four countries have set up a coordination center in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, to help police work together to tackle cybercrime gangs.

Beijing has conducted a series of crackdowns targeting criminal bases in Myanmar amid growing concern in China about overseas telecom fraud, especially after the cyber scam-related film ‘No More Bets‘ topped the country’s box office over the summer, sparking a national discussion about the issue.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.