Beijing is going after scam mills that operate out of secretive, dystopian compounds and swindle people worldwide
By Feliz Solomon, The Wall Street Journal, Updated Nov. 5, 2023
It’s called “pig butchering.”
Armies of scammers operating from lawless corners of Southeast Asia—often controlled by Chinese crime bosses—connect with people all over the world through online messages. They foster elaborate, sometimes romantic, relationships, and then coax their targets into making bogus investments. Over time, they make it appear that the investments are growing to get victims to send more money. Then, they disappear.
In recent months, China has unleashed its most aggressive effort to crack down on the proliferation of the scam mills, reaching beyond its territory and netting thousands of people in mass arrests. Its main target is a notorious stretch of its border with Myanmar controlled by narcotics traffickers and warlords…
The U.S. Treasury Department in September warned Americans about the scams… [end quote]
A lot of very bad stuff goes on in lawless areas controlled by Chinese gangs. Drug synthesis and smuggling, cybercrime, human trafficking and now pig butchering. This is an embarrassment to the Chinese government and they are trying to arrest the criminals in operations extending into neighboring countries.
We have read a lot about Russian and Mexican crime cartels, but the Chinese could have equally large impact on international crime. The Russians sponsor their cyber criminals, the Mexicans are overrun by their criminals and can’t seem to control them. In a sense, it’s kind of reassuring that the Chinese government is trying to get this problem under control. But the criminal kingpins are probably slippery and could easily set up shop elsewhere.