China busts 700 cybercriminal gangs

China's Web policing campaign has led to the arrest of 8,900 suspects and deleting of 1.88 million "harmful" Web messages, says the Ministry of Public Security.

A country-wide Web policing campaign led by China's Ministry of Public Security has dealt a blow to 700 cybercriminal gangs in the country.

In a statement Sunday, the Ministry of Public Security said since August, various police units in the country solved 4,400 Internet-related cases, busted 700 cybercriminal gangs and arrested 8,900 suspects.

The police also deleted 1.88 million harmful messages while closing down about 3,500 spam Web sites, it added. The current Web policing efforts were an extention of a campaign which started in March .

The ministry noted that cybercrime in China has extended from cyberactivities such as online theft, hacking and pornographic Web sites to activities offline such as the selling of guns, fake medicine and Internet fraud.

Among the cases solved during the period was what the police dubbed the country's first "illegal Internet public relations" case. Suspects provided a service to businesses to delete negative Internet posts and threatened to post negative comments if the victims do not pay. They managed to accumulate more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) in blackmail fees.