Information will be more easily accessible to banks, ticket agencies and hotels to curb fraud
China is to establish an online system to manage lost and stolen identification cards in order to curb the use of fake ID cards to commit crimes, according to the Ministry of Public Security on April 21.
The ministry’s database will share information with other sectors, including the banking system, train and airplane ticket offices, the telecommunications sector and hotels, the ministry said.
“After the online system is in operation, relevant departments will be able to discover in a timely manner information regarding the reported loss of ID cards and prevent criminals from using fake IDs to check into hotels, buy train or airplane tickets or open a bank account, thus greatly curbing crime,” said a senior official from the Ministry of Public Security who declined to be identified.
In recent years, police across the nation have discovered that a large number of lost or stolen IDs haven’t been destroyed, but have been collected and traded on the black market for use by criminals.
When China Daily searched QQ, an instant messaging service, using key words such as “buying IDs”, hundreds of QQ groups for ID trading information were displayed, with hundreds of people participating in the buying and selling of IDs.
A salesman named Chen Xu showed more than 200 photos for female IDs and 500 photos for males on his QQ page, selling for 320 yuan ($52) each. He said that all IDs for sale were genuine and could be traded on the Taobao online trading platform.
Chen said he had sold more than 50 IDs since April 1 and earned 10,000 yuan.
Li Jianman, deputy director of the Dongli branch of the Tianjin Public Security Bureau, said that 100,000 telecom fraud cases occur across the country each year, and that the amount of money involved is 10 billion yuan.
Li said criminals often open many bank accounts using stolen IDs and then deposit the money gained from online fraud into them.
“Scattering money in this manner poses great difficulty in our investigation of these online frauds,” he said. “We have uncovered less than 5 percent of such crimes.”
In some provinces and regions, the use by criminals of stolen or lost IDs has resulted in the arrests of the people whose cards were misappropriated, and they have been ordered by banks to pay off the debts.
In November 2013, a woman from Hunan province was detained in Qinghai province on suspicion of online fraud. After detaining the woman, the police discovered that she had lost her ID and it had been used to conduct the fraud, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Li Xiaobing, a law professor at Nankai University, said that according to the law, if people purchase, sell or use the fake ID cards, they can be detained for a maximum of 10 days and fined between 200 and 1,000 yuan.
“The judicial authorities should enhance targeting the people who use stolen IDs to commit crimes and impose harsher punishments on them,” he said.
Li Wei, a law professor from the Beijing Lawyers Association, said that apart from the ministry tightening its approach to lost or stolen IDs, the banking system, telecommunications sector and hotels should also strengthen their supervision to prevent criminals from using fake IDs to conduct crimes.