A team from the Criminal Investigations Directorate Yesterday 23 June, 2023 arrested a Chinese National, Yinghe Chen 43, on allegations defrauding over 6000 Ugandans money worth 4.5 billion shillings through his online betting company, BLQ Sports SMC which was operating 5 branches last year.
An inter-agency investigation was conducted by the National Cyber Task Force, sweeping areas of UCB Zone in Bukoto 1, Nakawa Division in Kampala, where the suspect was found.
“The National Cyber Taskforce comprising of; CID, Crime Intelligence (CI), ISO, ESO, CMI, Bank of Uganda, NIRA, NITA- Uganda and Uganda Banker’s Association, was at center stage in ensuring that the suspect is arrested. ” said CP Polly Namaye, Deputy police spokesperson- Uganda Police Force.
Yinghe’s arrest brings the number of those arrested in relation to this fraud to 5.
According to police, on 11 May, 2023, Awori Mary, the wife to Yinghe Chen and the registered Director of Acclaim BLQ Sports SMC was arrested. Subsequently, On 12 June, 2023, Police arrested Akoth Justine Oboth, Achola Mary, and Biira Shamim in connection to the same, the four have since been arraigned in court.
It should be noted that BLQ Sports SMC closed abruptly last year leaving a number Ugandans in financial agony.
Operating under it’s slogan, “You lose, you win”, BLQ attracted thousands of un suspecting Ugandans to engage in an ‘easy- cheesy’ online betting that would make one a millionaire just in a single night but later closed without any notice to their clients. The sudden closure also left accounts unaccessible.
Police say, The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is working closely with Directorate of Public Prosecution to ensure that Mr Yinghe Chen is produced to court.
“The Police takes these public interest cases very seriously and we encourage all members of the public who have useful information relating to this investigation to share it with the nearest Police.” Said CP Polly Namaye, the Deputy Police spokesperson- Uganda Police Force.
Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020 reveals that economic crime remains a persistent threat for Uganda.
According to the Police Crime report 2022, a total of 286 cases of Cybercrimes were reported. By the end of the year, 45 cases had been taken to Court. 9 of these were not proceeded with while 232 cases were still under inquiry.
Out of the total cases taken to Court, 05 cases secured convictions, 01 case was dismissed while 39 cases were still pending in Court at the close of 2022.
Cybercrimes led to a loss of Ugx. 19,209,798,000 in 2022, out of which Ugx. 16,790,000 was recovered.
The law states that a person who commits an offence of fraud is liable for conviction and imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to a fine or to both.