What would Colonel Sanders have thought about the racket?
A group of five Chinese university students have been jailed after scamming thousands of dollars from KFC.
The mastermind behind the plot, named only as Xu, took advantage of a glitch in the fast food chain’s mobile app to nab £22,000-worth of free fried chicken.
The young man, from China’s eastern Jiangsu province, first spotted a bug in the system in April 2018.
He realised that by switching between the app and the chain’s official WeChat account he could generate an unlimited number of free food vouchers.
Xu said he was “overjoyed” by the discovery and soon began a side hustle of selling meals at a discounted rate and turning a profit, The Paper reports.
He then got four friends in on the act, using online software to make sales.
Within six months, the racket had cost KFC’s parent company, Yum, more than 200,000 yuan (£22,000) in economic losses, according to the Global Times.
After the group’s dealings were uncovered, a court in Shanghai ruled that Xu should be handed a prison sentence of two-and-a-half years for fraud and “imparting criminal methods”, as well as a 6,000 yuan (around £660) fine.
The crime should have carried a five-year jail term, however, Xu was reportedly shown leniency for handing himself in and pleading guilty to the offence.
He also allegedly paid an undisclosed sum in compensation to KFC.
The other four defendants were issued sentences ranging from 15 months to two years and fined between 1,000 yuan (£110) and 4,000 yuan (£440).
It turned out the scheme wasn’t such a finger lickin’ good ideaiStock
The case prompted heated discussions on Chinese social media, with users questioning how taking advantage of a flawed system could be tantamount to breaking the law.
The Xuhui District People’s Court told the Global Times that such actions were similar to when someone takes extra cash from a malfunctioning ATM.
In other words, it is considered “unjustified enrichment”.
All we can say is, no amount of fried chicken is worth years behind bars.