MADRID, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Spanish and Chinese Police and investigators highlighted their coordination here Wednesday in cracking down a Chinese computer criminal syndicate and halting cyber fraud.
Over 200 people linked to a Chinese criminal network, which is thought to have cheated over 16 million euros (16.8 million U.S. dollars) from "thousands" of victims in China, have arrested in their joint operation on Tuesday, Spanish and Chinese police said at a joint press conference.
Over 600 agents took part in the operation, including 20 searches and dismantling of 13 call centers set up in luxury chalets in Madrid and the provinces of Alicante and Barcelona, they said.
The crime syndicate, described as the "Spanish branch of a powerful Chinese crime syndicate specialized in telephone fraud on a massive scale and with ramifications in various countries across five continents," has an "elaborate method to trick their potential victims through an IP telephone system."
Police investigations began in July after the Spanish National Police were notified by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security of numerous frauds of Chinese citizens by phone calls with Spanish IP addresses.
The network used 13 different call centers with up to 50 people working around the clock to follow a "perfectly designed script" and make "continued calls to interminable lists of potential victims until someone fell into their trap."
The scheme first looked for some phone victims, pretending to be their neighbors and warning them of fraud schemes in their area.
This was followed by a call from a second person pretending to be a "policeman" advising the victims they were to be targeted as victims of fraud, before a third call from a "civil servant" or "policeman" asked them to deposit money into a bank account "with the aim of being able to trace the fraudsters".
These accounts however, were not controlled by Chinese authorities but belonged to the criminal organization.
Some victims of the fraud reportedly had committed suicide after losing their savings.