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China wants its detained ‘hackers’ freed

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi may have come to town with a promise to boost Kenya’s infrastructure.

But he was also here to seek repatriation of the more than 70 Chinese nationals remanded in prison on charges of running an illegal communications system.

On Saturday, Mr Wang met President Kenyatta at State House, where he promised “a new focus on industrial development and technology transfer”.

But the subject changed when he met with his Kenyan counterpart, Ms Amina Mohamed.


“What we want is to repatriate these citizens so that they will undergo fair trial inside China instead of getting released here in Kenya,” he told reporters at a news conference.

“Available evidence shows that this is a case of fraud launched from outside China against Chinese citizens inside China and the suspects used very simple measures.

“But this is by no means a cyber attack as some media have speculated.”

The 76 Chinese and a Thai were arrested in a house in Runda estate, Nairobi, with communication gadgets that security agents claimed were capable of disrupting Kenya’s communication system and infiltrate bank accounts, ATMs and mobile money transfer networks.

The 77 have denied the charges of running a telecommunication system without a licence and conspiracy to commit felony.