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PUBG Mobile cheat-makers were raking in millions, until the Chinese police came calling

PUBG
PUBG (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A VICE report details the background of the creators of a popular PUBG Mobile cheat, whose business recently came to an end.
  • The creators were making hundreds of thousands a month, and millions a year, from the sale of these cheats.
  • The Chinese police cracked down on this in an operation known as "Chicken Drumstick."

Chinese police have cracked down on one of the largest mobile gaming cheat developers in the world, known to them as "Chicken Drumstick," and to its users as Cheat Ninja. In a new report, VICE documents the cheat-maker's story and reveals just how many millions they were making from the illicit software.

The cheats in question include things like wallhacks and were developed for the mobile versions of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Naturally, given cheating has a negative effect on a game and the bottom line of the game's creators, Chinese company Tencent had an interest in cracking down on the creators of these cheats. Earlier this year, a police raid in Kunshan resulted in the arrests of up to 10 people and the seizure of multiple assets, including several expensive cars, that were apparently the fruits of these labors.

The details on the arrests were revealed in the VICE report, which cites info from the creator of one of the cheats, given the pseudonym "Catfish". When several of his Chinese colleagues went missing, only to turn up after days urging him to visit Shanghai, Catfish knew the Chinese police were onto him. Working with Tencent, Chinese police cracked down on several of the cheat-makers.

Catfish, who's laying low according to VICE, has made enough money from his cheat endeavors to comfortably retire from the business. He told VICE that, at the height of his cheats' popularity, he and his compatriots were making $350,000-400,000 a month. The assets seized in the aforementioned raids were worth $46 million.

The cheaters were primarily working within PUBG Mobile, but had been branching out to other mobile games. For its part, PUBG Mobile retains a decently-sized playerbase, having recently launched a Godzilla vs Kong tie-in event. If you want to play the game (we cannot condone the cheats), we have a list of the best phones for PUBG Mobile.

Rachel Kaser is an Android Central gaming contributor, who's been writing since 2013 and gaming since the age of five. She's covered everything from gaming news, reviews, and analysis -- if it exists in gaming, she knows about it. She also contributes to Future's other sites, iMore and Windows Central. If you want to hear her opinions on games, pop culture, tech, and everything in between, follow her on Twitter @rachelkaser