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. China quake rumour-monger jailed for four years: court

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 17, 2008
A 19-year-old man who hacked into a government website just after southwest China's devastating earthquake and warned of another huge tremor has been jailed for four years, a court said Friday.

The court in Nanning, capital of the southern Guangxi region, convicted Chen Zhifeng of deliberately spreading false and terrifying news.

Chen hacked into the website of Guangxi's seismological bureau in May and put up a warning saying "a huge quake of over magnitude nine will soon hit Guangxi," the court said in a posting on chinacourt.org, an official legal website.

The alert, posted shortly after an 8.0-magnitude quake had hit Sichuan province that same month, leaving over 87,000 people dead or missing, "caused serious panic among society," the court said.

Chen, who worked at a technology company, is the second person to have been jailed for hacking into an official government website and posting a false alert after the Sichuan quake.

A university student surnamed Jia was jailed for 18 months at the beginning of September for the same crime in the northern Shaanxi province.

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