The saying goes, “Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win,” but that is apparently not the case. Kunshan Police, China, say that a video game cheats ring pulled in an astonishing $ 76 million in subscription fees before a recent bust, the The BBC reported on Tuesday.
Police also said they seized $ 46 million in assets, including a number of luxury sports cars – a catch that makes more sense when considering the service, called “Chicken Drumstick”, reportedly costing $ 10 a day, or as much as $ 200 a month per client. The operation was carried out in coordination with Shenzhen-based video game developer Tencent, as in 2018 worked with the police to arrest 120 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds cheaters.
While in the United States, cheating is generally the only thing that can lead to civil liability or network bans in worst case China strikes at cheaters under comprehensive laws banning disruption of computer networks that can have a five-year jail term, with cheat developers potentially reversed much more prison time. Other possible charges against fraudsters include copyright infringement and illegal business operations, depending on the area of arrest, Jiangsu police told South China Morning Post in 2018. Chinese police have also targeted scammers in gaming competitions who sometimes pay huge cash prizes.
Authorities told the BBC they had arrested 10 people people and “Destroyed 17 cheats” during the raid, although it is not clear what they meant beyond wiping some hard drives. By BBC:
Kunshan police found and destroyed 17 cheats and arrested 10 people in connection with the ring.
It said it was “the world’s biggest” cheating case due to large sums of money and games involved.
according to South China Morning Post, Tencent claimed in September 2020 that cheat software is now a $ 293 million market across China. However, this number is a company estimate released at a time Tencent has a clear business interest in preventing cheaters from ruining the experience of new players joining an increase in games during the coronavirus pandemic (sales increased with over 22% in China from 2019 to 2020).
As the Post noted, Chinese police have been eager to crack down on fraudsters in operations with blank names such as Sword Net 2020, and have worked with Tencent in dozens of cases.