Illegal Use of Information Networks by Tan Zhangyu, Zhang Yuan, et al. Case on the Crime of Illegal Use of Information Network
Cyber crimes in recent years has been showing the characteristics of diversified subjects, highly hidden means, refined division of work in a cybercrime chain, scattered places where the crime is committed, etc. In particular, cyber fraud is often committed via online communication by and between the upstream and the downstream of a cybercrime chain. This case clarified that a person who had a clear knowledge that the "click- farming advertisement" of his client was a fraudulent act, but, with a purpose of obtaining illegal gains, still provided assistance to promote the advertisement for the crime committed, shall be considered as committed the crime of illegal use of information networks where the circumstances are severe. The specific rules set by the case could effectively crack down on criminal activities involving illegal use of information networks.
In December 2016, to obtain illegal gains, the defendants, Tan Zhangyu and Zhang Yuan planned to engage in sending fraud information about "gainning commissions by click-farming" to others via the Internet. Tan Zhangyu and Zhang Yuan employed the defendant Qin Qiufa and other persons to send the fraud information. Zhang Yuan’s primary responsibility was to purchase “Alitalk” accounts and software, and to lease computer servers, etc. Qin Qiufa took charge of soliciting and contacting with customers who are in need of sending fraud information, receiving payments from the customers and guiding others to send fraud information. The three defendants provided assistance to publish the fraud information with the clear knowledge that the click-farming was not true and was used only for fraud. Tan Zhangyu and Zhang Yuan would obtain RMB 30 to 70 Yuan from their client when each person added QQ numbers in the above-mentioned information. The victims Wang and Hong were defrauded of RMB 31,000 Yuan and RMB 30,049 Yuan respectively after adding QQ numbers in the fraud information prepared and sent by Tan Zhangyu and Zhang Yuan.
The court held that the defendants Tan Zhangyu, Zhang Yuan, and Qin Qiufa sent fraud click-farming information via information networks with a purpose of obtaining illegal gains which was essentially an inchoate offense of fraud, and constituted the crime of illegal use of information networks. Although there was no evidence proving that the persons conducted the fraud act have been arrested and criminally prosecuted, many victims have appeared, without any prejudice to the constitution of the crime of illegal use of information networks. Tan Zhangyu, Zhang Yuan, and Qin Qiufa jointly committed the intentional offense, which is a jointly committed crime. Tan Zhangyu and Zhang Yuan played a leading role in this jointly committed crime and they are the principals in this case. Qin Qiufa played a subordinate role in this jointly committed crime as an accessory criminal and shall be given lighter sentence. Pursuant to the first-instance judgment of Shuyang Primary People’s Court of Jiangsu Province and the second-instance judgment of Suqian Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu Province, the defendant Zhang Yuan was sentenced to two-year and one month imprisonment for the crime of illegal use of information networks and fined RMB 100,000 yuan as penalty; the defendant Tan Zhangyu was sentenced to one year and ten months imprisonment for the crime of illegal use of information networks and fined RMB 80,000 yuan as penalty; and the defendant Qin Qiufa was sentenced to one year and four months imprisonment for the crime of illegal use of information network and fined RMB 30,000 yuan as penalty.