How 5 Students Scammed KFC China Out Of $30,000

You may never have guessed it, but KFC dominates the Chinese fast food market. According to Harvard Business Review, the chicken empire opened a new restaurant a day in China back in 2011 thanks to creating a restaurant experience that blended into the locale, rather than promoting itself as Western fast food. Over time, the restaurant gained a real foothold and now millions love enjoying the brand's signature fried chicken each day. With an expanse of restaurants this wide, it was only a matter of time before a few hungry patrons would try to defraud the chain that has stretched across China.

According to Vice, five Chinese students were set to facr fines and jail sentences after exploiting a coupon flaw and gaining over $30,000 in free chicken. Starting in April 2018, a 23-year-old university student accidentally found out he could order free items by using coupons to pay for food in the KFC app. He would then turn around and get a refund on the coupons in another app. He shared the flaw with four other students and personally cost KFC about $9,000. The other four students caused additional losses, ranging from $1,400 to $7,300.

What charges did the students face?

According to The Global Times, each student faced charges of fraud and imparting criminal methods. Prosecutors compared this exploitation of KFC to that of taking advantage of a malfunctioning ATM and withdrawing extra cash without receiving a charge to their account. In addition to getting free meals, the ringleader also sold the coupons and the chicken he scored for a profit, worsening his crime (via 7 News).

The court case has set the internet ablaze, causing many to wonder how taking advantage of a restaurant's loophole constitutes a crime. While perplexing, this case may serve as a benchmark for how future accusations of fraud play out in China, especially as more Western fast food chains breach the East Asian market. Keep an eye out for more news as this case develops, and always make sure to avoid trying to exploit any loopholes when ordering food.