Police crack 3,000 healthcare fraud cases

Chinese police have cracked more than 3,000 fraud cases related to healthcare products, detained about 1,900 people involved in them, and retrieved property worth 140 million yuan ($20.3 million) for members of the public this year, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Thursday (Dec. 20). 

"Scamming senior citizens to sell illicit healthcare products has become more prevalent and frequent in recent years, causing serious harm to the legitimate rights of the elderly as well as their physical and mental health," said Chen Shiqu, deputy director of the ministry's criminal investigation bureau.  

Chen said such frauds had expanded across the country and involved an increasing amount of money, adding that the methods used by the criminals had also been updated.  

The gangs often operated under a company and lured older people with free gifts, health checks, lectures or tours to win their trust, and their products and services tended to be pictured as charitable, high-tech and surprisingly efficacious.  

Since the beginning of the year, the ministry has deployed public security bureaus across the country to crack down on such activities, Chen said, with some major operations directly supervised by the ministry to ensure the campaign operated at full strength.  

Public security bureaus also teamed up with local market administration bodies and medical and health departments, he added, forming joint law enforcement teams to offer support for product verification and supervision.  

Police in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, recently busted a syndicate selling counterfeit cardiovascular drugs to people over 65 years old.  

It posed as a welfare social group and sent fake medical experts to give free cardiovascular disease examinations to the elderly. The medical products were touted as having been developed by top medical authorities, with four international patents, and a bargain at only 987 yuan after a discount.  

Yang Nianhu, deputy director of the criminal investigation department at Jiangsu's Public Security Bureau, said police later found out that the products lacked official approval and were mainly made of a kind of vegetable oil at a cost of 60 yuan.  

The police detained 60 suspects and seized over 2,000 cardiovascular products and 3 million yuan in cash at scene.