A man, surnamed Han, who was a manager of a freight company in Shenyang was this week sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and fined CNY 1.5 million for his part in pilfering money from China Railcom. According to court papers and local media, Han crafted IP telephone cards that illegally patched into the Railcom telephone system, giving the users many free minutes of calling time.

This situation came to the attention of Railcom on May 19, 2003. On that day China Railcom decided to connect data on the IP telephone platform to its backbone lines to increase its coverage of IP telephone service in China. It found, however, that 89 of the company's IP cards had a negative value in them.

Through technical analyses, the company found that someone had taken advantage of the company's systems and illegally charged CNY 7 million to these cards. They then found that from December 11, 2002, to May 2003, Han created three IP cards with face values of CNY 3.11612 Million, CNY 139880 and CNY 2.580480 million, respectively, by repeatedly transferring accounts.

The subsequent investigation found that Han subdivided the three cards into smaller face values and asked his relatives and staff to sell them to IP card dealers.

According to reports, this is the largest heist of IP cards on record in China.

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