22 Chinese nationals, one Cameroonian jailed 7 years with hard labour for cybercrime


The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has sentenced 21 Chinese nationals and a Cameroonian to seven years in prison with hard labour for operating a cybercrime syndicate.

The accused, including one female, pleaded guilty to cyber-related crimes committed under the company Golden Top Support Services, located in Roma Township.

The court imposed four years in prison and fined each convict K30,000 for computer-related misrepresentation.

Additionally, each was fined K40,000 and received three years with hard labour for identity-related crimes, except for the female convict, who received simple imprisonment.

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The director of the company, Li Xianlin, was charged with operating the network without a license and received an additional four years of imprisonment and a K50,000 fine.

The sentences would run consecutively and the fines must be paid forthwith, or the convicts will face an additional nine months of cumulative imprisonment.

Magistrate Sylvia Munyinya considered the mitigating factors, including that the accused were first-time offenders who readily admitted the charges and that 15 of them were youths.

However, she also noted the aggravating circumstances, including the rampant nature of computer-related offenses and the need to deter potential offenders.

“In light of these aggravating circumstances, it is necessary to mete harsh sentences to deter would-be offenders. I am aware that the option of a fine ought to be considered where the convict is a first offender or where the charges are readily admitted.

“However, as stated before, there is a need to mete harsh sentences to deter would-be offenders, considering the nature of the offenses in this matter,” she adjudicated.

The convicts had recruited Zambian youths to engage in deceptive conversations with unsuspecting mobile users across various platforms, including countries such as Peru, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other African countries.

The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) busted the convicts in April this year and seized various equipment, including 135 personal computers, a laptop, 37,000 SIM cards, 23 cell phones, two firearms with 79 rounds of ammunition, among other items.

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