Chinese court sentences two brothers to prison for extorting Taobao vendors

Two brothers were convicted and sentenced to jail for extorting Taobao vendors

The Guangdong Nanhai District People’s Court has sentenced two brothers to jail for extorting money from Taobao Vendors.

Liang Tiejun and Liang Tiemin set up a fake domain and filed fraudulent intellectual property complaints against Taobao vendors with falsified proof and asked for takedowns from May to July 2016. The brothers would then approach the vendors and offer to withdraw the complaints for a “license fee.”

This follows Alibaba calling for stronger action against counterfeiters, while counterfeit goods are even affecting Chinese brands.

Alibaba provided the tip off to authorities in August 2016, bringing the scam to light, after discovering it via big data analysis. Both brothers had extorted between RMB1,000 to RMB30,000 from 98 Taobao vendors in two months.

The brothers were convicted of seven cases of extortion over the Internet. Liang Tiemin was sentenced to one and a half years in prison with a fine of RMB10,000 and his brother, Liang Tiejun was sentenced to eight months in prison with a RMB 5,000 fine.

“Malicious complaints have become a black spot in our industry,” said Jessie Zheng, chief platform manager, Alibaba.