JINAN, July 19 (Xinhua) -- An east China court Wednesday sentenced seven people to prison for involvement in a telecom fraud case linked to the death of a teenager last year.
Chen Wenhui was handed a life sentence by the Intermediate People's Court of Linyi City, Shandong Province, for fraud and violation of personal information. The court also ordered the confiscation of all of his personal assets, and deprived him of his political rights for life.
The sentences for his accomplices ranged from three to 15 years.
From November 2015 to August 2016, the defendants telephoned high school students preparing for the gaokao (college entrance examination) after illegally purchasing their information online. They managed to swindle more than 560,000 yuan (80,000 U.S. dollars) from more than 23,000 calls.
In 2016, Chen bought information of over 100,000 high school students in Shandong from merchants illegally trading personal information through the instant messaging platform QQ and Alipay, the mobile payment service under e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba.
Xu Yuyu, a senior high school graduate from Linyi, died of cardiac arrest in August 2016 after losing 9,900 yuan (1,440 U.S. dollars) to the fraudsters. She was supposed to use the money to pay her university tuition fees.
The telecom fraud by Chen and his accomplices was causally linked to Xu's death, the court said.
Police detained more than 19,300 telecom fraud suspects in 2016.