Screenshot from video by Zambia's Drug Enforcement Commission about an operation against scam operation run by Chinese nationals
Screenshot from a video by Zambia's Drug Enforcement Commission about an operation against scam operation run by Chinese nationals. Image: DEC / Facebook

Chinese nationals plead guilty to running Zambia scam operation

Twenty-two Chinese nationals pleaded guilty this week to cybercrime charges in Zambia for their participation in a "sophisticated internet fraud syndicate." 

They were among 77 people arrested in April in a raid on the company, Golden Top Support Services — which according to Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission had misled locals into working for a scam call center in the suburbs of the capital, Lusaka.

“The organization behind the scheme employed young Zambian individuals, mostly school leavers under the guise of call center agents,” said DEC Director General Nason Banda after the raid. “These individuals engaged in deceptive conversations with unsuspecting mobile users across platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram and chatrooms.”

The Zambian employees were reportedly released on bail. 

Police seized 13,000 SIM cards and a handful of SIM boxes — devices that disguise international calls as local. According to Banda, the “illicit operations” extended to mobile and online communication with people in Singapore, Peru, the United Arab Emirates and other African countries. Zambian law enforcement didn’t reveal the exact nature of the scams. 

According to the BBC, the 22 Chinese nationals pleaded guilty to computer-related misrepresentation, identity-related crimes, and illegally operating a network or service and will be sentenced on Friday.

Last month, the U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber National Mission Force announced that it had conducted the first “hunt forward” mission in Zambia. Its members worked with personnel from the Zambian Information Communication Technology Authority for three months to identify network vulnerabilities and search for malicious cyber activity. 

Get more insights with the
Recorded Future
Intelligence Cloud.
Learn more.
No previous article
No new articles
James Reddick

James Reddick

has worked as a journalist around the world, including in Lebanon and in Cambodia, where he was Deputy Managing Editor of The Phnom Penh Post. He is also a radio and podcast producer for outlets like Snap Judgment.