A manager with the famous online game operator Shanda has been
sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling in-game
Wang Yihui, 30, and his two accomplices, raked in more than 2
million yuan (US$258,534) from virtual properties created through
the company's game system by trading them, Shanghai Pudong New Area
District People's Court heard.
The racket was uncovered last September, when Shanda found a
large amount of "invented" virtual properties. They reported it to
One of racketeers even purchased an apartment with his illegal
earnings. Most of the money has been recovered, the court
Wang said in hearings that he never embezzled money, arguing
that China's criminal law does not cover virtual property
But the court ruled against it, claiming that virtual properties
were worthy when players contributed time and money to earn them.
Wang told the court that he would appeal to a higher court after
hearing the verdict.
One accomplice received three years imprisonment with a
four-year suspension. The other got two-and-a-half years with a
In 2002, Wang joined Shanda Corporation, one of the biggest
online gaming operators in the world, and was responsible for
maintaining and updating its game programs.
In August 2004, Wang and his primary school mate Jin spoke on
the Internet about how people were making money by trading online
After Jin registered accounts in the game Legend of MIR II, Wang
invented assets by making changes in the system and then sold them
to other players.
In February 2005, Tang, Wang's friend from his hometown in Zhejiang Province, joined them.
A player surnamed Xu who gave evidence in court said that he had
spent 1,500 yuan, in real money, to purchase a magic ring, which is
worth about 2,000 yuan according to the market price. But, it was
confiscated in three hours by the company.
(China Daily March 27, 2007)