Economic losses from Internet crimes in China totaled an estimated $46.4 billion (RMB 289 billion) last year, Global Times reports.

The People’s Public Security University of China published the figures in a new report, ostensibly the first to look at Internet crime in the country. It found that Chinese authorities investigated 118,000 cybercrimes last year.

The Global Times noted that “fraud, prostitution, pyramid selling and personal information theft” were ranked among the top crimes committed. The report suggests that as many as 700,000 Internet users fall prey to Internet crime in China every day.

Though China has taken public steps to clean up its cyberspace, illegal activities are just a quick search away. Earlier this month, The New York Times called attention to easily-discovered sites that claimed to offer methamphetamine, date-rape drugs, guns and prostitution.

Still, a rise in Internet crime is not unexpected as China’s population comes online. A government agency has pegged the country’s connected user base at 564 million at the end of 2012, up from 513 million in 2011.

Last July, state media noted that Chinese security officials had arrested 10,000 suspects and broken up 600 criminal gangs in a crackdown on online crime. A separate report suggested that ecommerce shoppers had lost $4.7 billion to fraud from June 2011 to June 2012.

(hat tip ZDNet)

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