Police in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China have detained a man who allegedly spread earthquake rumors by hacking a government website after the May 12 disaster in Sichuan Province.
The suspect, surnamed Chen, who is from Taicang City in the eastern province of Jiangsu, admitted he had hacked into the official website of the Guangxi earthquake administration and posted quake rumors on its news page, said Tang Bin, vice director of the Public Security Bureau of Nanning, the regional capital.
Chen, 19, worked in a technology company after graduating from junior middle school. He said he hacked the site to show off his computer skills and have "fun," according to the police.
The administration website was found to have been hacked on May 31. A notice mourning the victims of the 8.0-magnitude quake had been revised to read: "Please prepare for an earthquake with a magnitude of more than 9.0 in Guangxi," Tang said
The news scroll, meanwhile, had been replaced with a single phrase: "Experts warn of earthquake in Guangxi in the near future," he said.
The hacker also re-entered the website on June 1 and 2, wiping out all the data, police said.
A team was set up immediately to prevent the rumor from sapping public confidence amid quake-relief efforts. Public security bureaus from six provinces and regions co-operated to break the case on June 4, Tang said.
The regional earthquake administration updated its software to avoid further attacks, said Li Weiqi, the administration vice director.
(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2008)