Bye-bye cheaters: how the Chinese police disrupted a $760 million hacking ring

Chinese police have seized over $46m in assets and dismantled one of the largest producers of software for video game cheaters.

As someone who has been playing competitive shooters for close to a decade, I can say wholeheartedly that I despise cheaters. So to say I was overjoyed when I read that the Kunshan Police Department dismantled one of the world’s largest cheating rings would be an understatement. When I found out they seized $46m of assets including luxury cars, jewellery, and cold hard cash, I almost passed out from the euphoric feeling of justice.

News broke via a Twitter account called Anti Cheat PD, a community-run platform to name and shame individual cheaters and those who supply them. The success was a result of collaboration between Kunshan Police Department and Tencent, a controversial gaming company based in China.

Gaming Cheating Ring busted

The investigation lasted just over a year and resulted in multiple arrests targeting the upper echelons of the organisation. Their business model was structured on a subscription basis, where cheaters would pay US$38 per month to access a variety of hacks. These would give the players superhuman abilities, such as seeing through walls, super speed, the ability to fly, or perfect aim.

Their cheats were mainly aimed at popular mobile battle royales such as Call of Duty: Mobile, however, the business extended to more competitive games such as Valorant and Overwatch.

The business was incredibly profitable for the cheaters. It is predicted that they saw a turnover of US$10,000 per day, amassing a total of US$760m during their operation.

Kunshan Police are hailing their bust as one of the largest anti-cheating operations in the world for a triad of reasons. Firstly for the money involved, secondly for the number of AAA titles involved, and finally for the number of players this affects globally. They won’t be stopping here either – Kunshan PD promises to deliver results under a task force dubbed ‘Peace Elite’ which will see Tencent continue to collaborate with them.

So the next time you hop into a lobby and start making allegations that someone is cheating, remember that it’s a little less likely thanks to this bust. You could just be trash.