A court in east China has handed down jail sentences of up to three years to 11 people for their roles in online gaming scams that netted them around 140,000 dollars, state media said.
Lu Yizhong and Zeng Yifu wrote malicious Trojan horse viruses to steal 5.3 million user names and passwords from online gamers, which were then used for "illegal gains", the Xinhua news agency reported late on Wednesday.
Defendants Yan Renhai, his girlfriend Chen Huiting and other accomplices sold or used the viruses to steal online credits, the Gulou District People's Court in Jiangsu province found, according to Xinhua.
The report said that Lu and Zeng made 646,000 yuan (95,000 dollars) through the scam, and Yan and Chen made 310,000 yuan. The report gave no further details as to how the gains were made.
Lu was sentenced to three years in jail and Zeng to two-and-a-half years, while the others received lesser sentences, Xinhua said. The group of 11 were also ordered to pay a fine of 833,000 yuan.
A total of 80 people nationwide were involved in what the report described as a 30-million-yuan case, without giving further details. Other defendants were to be sentenced soon, it said.
Internet use has expanded at a dizzying pace in China, which now has the world's largest online population of at least 338 million users.The number of Internet gamers in China reached 217 million at the end of June, or 64.2 percent of the nation's total online population, according to the government-linked China Internet Network Information Centre.