City police recover 50 million yuan swindled from senior citizens

Chen Huizhi
Shanghai police said they have cracked over 80 fraud cases against senior citizens and recovered more than 50 million yuan of the defrauded money in recent months.
Chen Huizhi

In an intensified crackdown on fraud against senior citizens, Shanghai police said they have solved over 80 criminal cases and recovered more than 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) defrauded from the victims in recent months.

About 220 suspects have been taken into custody and nine gangs taken down, police said on Monday.

Most of the fraud cases involved falsely advertised benefits of health products.

In suburban Qingpu District, police received a report last month that a 75-year-old lady paid a massage shop 52,000 yuan for some dubious essential oil products that were advertised to have the ability to prevent strokes.

The old lady was introduced to have a free massage at the shop where she was approached by a man who claimed to be a professor of medicine. After a "diagnosis," the man told her that she was likely to suffer strokes and then hoodwinked her into buying the products, police revealed.

City police recover 50 million yuan swindled from senior citizens
Ti Gong

The falsely advertised essential oil products in the Qingpu case

Having confirmed that the essential oil products had no medicinal effects at all, police launched an investigation that led to the discovery of a gang that defrauded senior citizens through a number of massage shops in Shanghai.

They had allegedly swindled people of more than 1.6 million yuan.

Ten suspects in the case were caught from Guangdong and Shandong provinces as well as Shanghai later that month.

In another case solved by police in suburban Jinshan District, 30 suspects were caught for allegedly selling products that they falsely claimed can deal with prostate problems.

Police started their investigation in early June after a 69-year-old man reported that he fell for an advertisement about the product on the Internet and lost 5,040 yuan to the fraudsters.

Around China, about 2,900 people had purchased the fraudulent product and its likes, and about 900 of them were from Shanghai, police said.

The suspects allegedly ran a company headquartered in Shaanxi Province and sold the products both by online advertising and illegally acquiring contact information of senior citizens.

The suspects, who allegedly have sold more than 8 million yuan worth of products, were rounded up in Shaanxi last month.

What makes it difficult to crack down on such fraud is that many victims are reluctant to file complaints out of shame, police said.

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