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Police break up suspected loan fraud gang

By Tian Xuefei and Zhou Huiying in Harbin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-29 21:47

Police escorted 159 suspects to Harbin, Heilongjiang province, on Tuesday, where they will join 25 others under investigation for fraud.

On Nov 22, police in Harbin and five other cities shut down six fraud rings and detained 184 suspects in a case involving nearly 10 million yuan ($1.5 million).

"Police started investigating in September when we received reports from nearly 200 residents who believed they had been defrauded by the same business consulting company, named Zhongyingruifeng," Yu Tao, deputy director of the Harbin public security bureau, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The victims claimed they couldn't get in touch with the company after paying deposits to receive large overdraft credit cards or a big loan at a low interest rate.

Furthermore, they found no one at the company office.

"I received a call from a company asking me about my funding needs," said one of the victims, surnamed Xu, who runs an agricultural materials shop. "At that time, I was facing a problem with capital."

He was reassured after a detailed consultation with the company, especially when he checked the materials the company provided about its qualifications. It was registered in July.

"Therefore, I applied for a loan of 700,000 yuan and paid a 7,000 yuan deposit," Xu said. "A week later, they called me again and told me that my application had been approved."

However, after paying another service charge of 8,000 yuan, Xu received no more calls.

"After calling them several times without anyone answering, I went to the company site but found the gate locked," he said. "I realized I must have been cheated."

Police believe the first fraudulent company was set up in Harbin, and then more companies were set up in Chengdu, Shichuan province; Guiyang, Guizhou province; Kunming, Yunnan province; Qingdao, Shandong province; and Shenyang, Liaoning province.

"Residents should be more aware when dealing with financial businesses," Zhao Zhongchao, director of the bureau, said at the news conference. "Criminals will have no chance if everyone goes to formal financial institutions."

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