Screenshot from PUBGImage copyright PUBG Corporation
Image caption The game is won by the player who survives the longest

Chinese police have arrested 15 people suspected of creating cheat programs for the popular Player Unknown Battleground (PUBG) game.

The cheats helped people survive longer, aim more accurately and spot foes in the competitive shooting game.

The 15 suspects have also been fined about 30m yuan (£3.45m) for profiting from the cheats.

Chinese police are expected to make more arrests as they break up the gang that made and sold the programs.

Safe haven

News about the arrests was posted to the PUBG forum pages on the Steam game network by Ryan Rigney, a spokesman for the PUBG Corporation that makes the game.

In that post, Mr Rigney said the action against the gang was part of the company's efforts to tackle cheating.

Mr Rigney said "major suspects" were arrested during the raid. They have been charged with developing, hosting and selling the hacking programs,

Some local Chinese newspapers suggest the gang made more than 30m yuan from selling a variety of cheating programs. PUBG is hugely popular in China and almost half of its players live there.

In some cases, said Mr Rigney, the cheat programs also contained malicious code that scanned users' PCs looking for login names, passwords and other confidential data.

"Using illegal programs not only disrupts others, but can end up with you handing over your personal information," he said.

More people linked to the gang are still being investigated, he said, adding that PUBG had recently updated its game to help spot when cheating software was being used.

"The ultimate goal is to create an environment for players that's completely safe from hackers and cheaters," he wrote.

In early 2018, a joint operation between Chinese police and tech firm Tencent, which promotes PUBG in the country, led to the arrest of 120 people suspected of making cheats.