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A group of students in China who took advantage of a loophole in KFC's app have been jailed for fraud after they got their hands on almost £22,000 worth of free chicken.
A student named only as Xu, from Jiangsu province, spotted a glitch in the fast-food chain's app in 2018 that allowed users to switch between the app and the restaurant's official Weibo account to generate an unlimited number of free food vouchers.
Chinese media outlet The Paper claims Xu was 'overjoyed' when he discovered the loophole.
After racking up more free fried chicken than he could possibly eat himself, he started a 'small business' by flogging food to other students.
He also told four other students about the loophole and showed them how to use it.
According to The Paper, Xu cost KFC's Chinese parent company Yum China Holdings 58,000 yuan (£6,400) in six months, while his four pals also scammed between 8,900 yuan (£980) and 47,000 yuan (£5,190) each.
A Chinese court found that the five students had committed fraud.
Court papers read: "Being fully aware of this bug, the convicted deliberately engaged in false transactions and illegally profited from them, which constituted the crime of fraud."
The Paper added that the group were aware that the App and self-service ordering system had a 'data out-of-synchronisation loophole, and they still conducted false transactions for the purpose of illegal possession and thus illegally obtained property'.
Because Xu shared the information with others, he was found to have committed a crime that carries a five-year sentences, but was shown some leniency as he handed himself in and pleaded guilty.
He is also reported to have given KFC an undisclosed sum in compensation.
His sentence was therefore reduced to two-and-a-half years and he was fined 6,000 yuan (£660).
The other four students were given sentences between 15 months and two years in prison, as well as fines varying from 1,000 yuan (£110) to 4,000 yuan (£440) each.
The unusual case has become a talking point on Chinese social media, with some suggesting Xu should have flagged the issue with KFC and others saying the fault lay with the fast-food chain for having such a bug.
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