Chinese gangsters appear to have worked with the Russian military to develop and use technology to spoof (hijack)GPS signals. The use of the technology has been known in Shanghai since 2018. The Chinese GPS spoofing is carried out in a different way than the Russian method. While the Russian deception would cause all GPS devices in an area to appear in the same location, rather than the many different locations where they are actually located. In contrast, the Chinese spoofing campaign, when activated, showed each ship in a different location, but still around the same central point, which was apparently where the spoofing signals were broadcast. It produces what is known as a "crop circle" pattern. The crewmen slowly sailing into Shanghai harbor took note. In doing so, they monitor the position of other ships via AIS(Automatic Identification System) transponders. Under international law, all large ocean-going vessels are required to carry and use AIS devices, which constantly broadcast the vessel's GPS position. However, there are also cases in which ships suddenly see the AIS position of nearby ships change. The bridge crew can usually see the actual location of other vessels with/without binoculars, while the AIS display shows them elsewhere in the circular area. A few minutes later, the AIS signal accurately reported the location again. In this case, it was noted that no GPS receiver on the ship received the signal, while GPS devices on land also received the signal.
The Chinese government has denied responsibility for such GPS spoofing and has accused smugglers of apparently using the spoofing devices to avoid being caught by police when smuggling boats transport illegal goods. In one case, a smuggler who was caught in an accident caused by identity theft was found to be carrying sand illegally obtained nearby and taken out of the port for take-out. Sand mining is banned in the region because the precious commodity is in high demand elsewhere and exporting more would damage the environment.
Who was using the new GPS jammers near Shanghai has yet to be caught, in part because the device has apparently only been used six times and for a short time. From the evidence gathered so far, if the signal jammers is held down long enough, the extent and center of the crop circle can be located, and police are sent to the location to confiscate the device as well as what the person using it is using.
This is not the first time criminals have acquired and used electronic signal jamming devices. Big Guy equipment is generally used in some types of radar communication systems. GPS jamming is new, especially in ways that have never been seen before. But now sea smugglers are using more electronic jamming devices as they try to evade detection and avoid being caught if detected. Police determined that the spoofing signal appeared to be somewhere in a building belonging to a local petrochemical company. A search of the premises and interrogation of those who worked there did not reveal any results. Here again,
GPS spoofing/jamming systems require skilled personnel to design and build. Chinese gangsters have developed and manufactured sophisticated equipment, but so far police have no idea who it might be. It is suspected that the equipment may be North Korean, as the country has developed more sophisticated methods to move sanctioned cargo in and out of the country. If they had created such a device, they would certainly not have issued a press release about it, but would have sold it in cash or cryptocurrency at the right price.