Miners trapped in scams promising gambling curfew workarounds

Police in central China’s Hunan Province dismantled online crooks who swindled thousands of minors by setting up a website to help them bypass government curfew, according to sister publication Sixth Tone , The Paper reported Tuesday.

The suspect, surnamed Tang, conspired with others to set up a fraudulent website, claiming that minors could play uninterrupted games for a one-time fee ranging from 10 to 50 yuan ($ 2 to $ 8), reported the media, citing city police. by Shaoyang. The crooks deceived nearly 3,000 minors, amassing them over 86,000 yuan.

Since an anti-addiction system for online gambling was introduced To curb the growing addiction to video games among Chinese youth in 2007, authorities only tightened restrictions to reduce screen time, which has been blamed for poor academic performance and rising rates myopia in children. In one of the strictest provisions yet, authorities in August ordered gaming companies to only allow minors to play for an hour on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

“There is no real name registration system for the children, so when we called the parents, they were caught off guard,” Yang Jiafeng, a police officer from Shaoyang, told The Paper. adding that the older cousins ​​of some miners were footing the bill. “Children should know that the government’s anti-addiction system cannot easily be lifted by an individual. “

The number of crooks exploiting minors has increased, especially in the past two years, courts audience about 20 related cases, according to China Judgments Online, an open database of legal affairs. Last year, a court in eastern Jiangsu province sentenced a con man to three years in prison for having induced a minor to pay 170,000 yuan – it was not known how the minor player had access to the money – to “circumvent the anti-addiction system”.

China has more 183 million Internet users under the age of 18, the majority using online services for entertainment such as games, according to a government survey released in July. A separate study show that 78% of Chinese minors started using the Internet when they were 10 years old or younger.

Between January and September of this year, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate for follow-up around 5,000 offenders engaged in telecommunications fraud against children, according to official data. In September, authorities in Beijing also slapped a gaming company with a 100,000 yuan fine as punishment for violating playing time limits for minors.

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Students play video games at a competition in Zhengzhou, Henan province, July 17, 2018. IC)

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