BEIJING, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have seized 208 suspects and confiscated thousands of fake bank cards in a fraud case that involved over 1 billion yuan (157 million U.S. dollars), according to the Ministry of Public Security.
The case dates back to November 2011, when two perpetrators of Taiwanese origin were caught withdrawing cash at an ATM machine with counterfeit cards in Shaoxing, a city in east China's Zhejiang Province, according to a Thursday statement from the ministry.
Equipment to make counterfeit bank cards was later found in the home of the two suspects, which led police to a major fraud network that spanned eight provincial-level regions.
The gang was broken up on June 11 with the arrests of two major suspects, who were from Taiwan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), respectively.
According to the ministry, several suspects bought cell phone numbers of the customers of ROK banks on the Internet, luring them in by using the names of ROK law enforcement agencies to convince them to submit bank account information to phishing websites.
The account names and passwords were later e-mailed to other suspects to make counterfeit bank cards. Money obtained via the ATM cards was then wired to accounts in the ROK and Taiwan.
Noting a growing number of card fraud cases in recent years, the ministry urged card holders to stay vigilant and call the police immediately if they suspect they have been defrauded.
Chinese police have been launching regular crackdowns on card fraud since 2008, cracking some 50,000 cases.