Illegal bike-sharing app group sentenced

Tian Shengjie
Court says developers of an app which gave users access to shared bikes at below market prices earned over 93.2 million yuan from 4.76 million users over two years. 
Tian Shengjie

Six people who developed apps which unlocked shared bikes, such as those from Hello Bike, Mobike and Ofo, earned over 93.2 million yuan (US$14.3 million) from 4.76 million users over two years.

On Thursday, their leader, surnamed Li, was sentenced to 10 years and six months behind bars while the others in the group were jailed from four to two years with a reprieve, Minhang District’s court said.

In 2017, the group hacked into the apps of bike-sharing companies and launched the “Quannengche” and “Quannengche PRO” apps on Chinese Android and iOS stores. After logging in and paying a deposit and a user charge that was lower than the market price, consumers could unlock the bikes, the Minhang procuratorate said.

In August 2019, Hello Bike alerted the police. 

The illegal apps had been used 348 million times and cost bike-sharing companies around 300 million yuan in losses, Minhang police said.

After an investigation, the apps were removed and several days later the six people involved were arrested in Shenzhen in Guangdong Province and 68 servers seized.

Li has been banned from any involvement in information transfer, software and information technology services for five years.

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