Chinese Online Influencers Arrested for Fraudulent Activity
In a recent crackdown by public safety officials, a group of Chinese online influencers who posed as “poor mountain women” to sell low-quality agricultural products have been arrested. The Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture Public Security Bureau in Sichuan Province apprehended 11 Wang Hong (Chinese online influencers), including Liangshan Mengyang, Zhao Ling’er, and Liangshan Qifu, all of whom had amassed a following of 2 to 3 million people. Alongside them, a total of 54 individuals, including officials from associated organizations and one-man media companies, were also arrested on charges of fraud.
The influencers stand accused of posting fabricated videos on social media platforms, manipulating emotions to garner support for rural communities in need. They sold agricultural products at exorbitant prices, resulting in a staggering profit of 10 million yuan (approximately 1.8 billion won). This fraudulent activity has faced swift legal repercussions, with charges laid against them.
One of the influencers, Liangshan Mengyang, had built her online persona as a young girl responsible for caring for her siblings after losing her parents in the remote Liangshan mountain village. Her video content portrayed her as a resilient and optimistic individual, diligently tending to farm work while wearing worn-out attire. She later capitalized on her popularity by selling agricultural products through live online broadcasts, claiming to have cultivated the produce herself.
Another influencer, Zhao Ling’er, claimed to have serendipitously encountered a benevolent and humble rural young man named Liangshan Chubu during her travels in Liangshan. They uploaded a video showcasing their joint efforts in farming, which gained significant attention. Once their following surpassed 2 million, they ventured into selling agricultural products online, amassing sales of 700,000 yuan (around 130 million won) over a span of 7 months.
However, suspicions arose last year when netizens noticed Liangshan Mengyang flaunting luxurious attire, casting doubt on the authenticity of her broadcasts. A subsequent investigation by public security authorities confirmed these suspicions, revealing that the influencers were actually celebrities associated with a one-person media company who adhered to a meticulously planned script.
Further revelations included the fact that the company had procured agricultural products from various regions at low prices, disguising them as local specialties and selling them at marked-up prices. As a consequence of these findings, public security authorities shut down 14 companies that were involved in the fraudulent activity. They also seized 20 tons of counterfeit honey and froze 5 million yuan (approximately 900 million won) in assets.
This crackdown serves as a stern reminder of the importance of maintaining transparency and integrity within the influencer industry. The incident has undoubtedly sparked conversations regarding the authenticity of online content and the need for vigilant consumer protection measures. As the authorities take action against these fraudulent influencers, it remains to be seen how this incident will shape the future of online influence and its ethical dimensions.
Hyewon Lee, Donga.com Reporter
Liang Sanmengyang (left), who pretended to be the head of a poor mountain girl in China, and her real appearance. Hold Douyin
In China, a group of online influencers who pretended to be ‘poor mountain women’ and made a profit by selling low-quality agricultural products were arrested by public safety.
According to local media such as Fengmyeon Newspaper on the 21st, the Public Security Bureau of Liangshan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, arrested 11 Wang Hong (Chinese online influencers), including Liangshan Mengyang, Zhao Ling’er, and Liangshan Qifu, who have 2 to 3 million followers, and their associated organizations It has been announced that a total of 54 people, including one-man media company officials, have been arrested on fraud charges.
They are accused of making fake videos and posting them on social media, appealing to emotions to help rural communities in need, selling agricultural products at high prices, and making unfair profits of 10 million yuan (about 1.8 billion won ).
Liangshan Mengyang was known as a girl who took care of her younger siblings after losing her parents in the mountain village of Liangshan. In the video, he gained popularity by showing his bright and optimistic side while doing hard farming work while wearing old clothes. Afterwards, Liang San Mengyang sold agricultural products through a live online broadcast, claiming to have farmed them himself.
Zhao Ling’er said that while traveling in Liangshan, she happened to meet Liangshan Chubu, a kind and simple rural young man, and uploaded a video of the two farming together, attracting attention. After they reached over 2 million followers, they sold agricultural products online and generated sales of 700,000 yuan (about 130 million won) in 7 months.
However, since last year, as Liang Sanmeng was seen wearing luxurious clothes, netizens raised suspicions that it was a fake broadcast. As a result of the investigation by the public security authorities, it was revealed that they were celebrities who belonged to a one-person media company and acted according to a well-planned script.
It was revealed that the company had been selling agricultural products bought at low prices from different regions by disguising them as local specialties and selling them at high prices.
Public security authorities shut down 14 companies they operated, confiscated 20 tons of fake honey left over from sales, and froze 5 million yuan (about 900 million won) in money.
Hyewon Lee, Donga.com Reporter email@example.com
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