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Police to fortify crackdown on illegal loan scams

By Zhang Yangfei | | Updated: 2019-02-26 18:46
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The Ministry of Public Security announced on Tuesday that police will reinforce the crackdown on loan-related scams and cooperate with financial regulatory authorities to inspect online lending platforms and further standardize online lending activities.

Police across the country to date have busted 1,664 criminal gangs involved in loan scams, arrested 16,349 suspects, cracked 21,624 cases of fraud, extortion and false litigation, and seized more than 3.53 billion yuan ($530 million) in assets involved, according to the ministry.

Appearing as an emerging crime, loan-related scams have been specially targeted as part of the nation's ongoing efforts to bust mafia-style criminal gangs, said Guo Lin, the ministry's spokeswoman.

According to Guo, such scams tend to take the form of private lending and ask the victim to sign a contract in the name of microcredit. Criminals then fake a bank statement and accuse the victims of breaching the contract, asking for a repayment immediately with very high interest if the repayment is overdue. If victims are unable to pay, the criminals will introduce other lending platforms or individuals, which will repeat the trick to inflate the debt.

Zeng Haiyan, an official at the ministry's Criminal Investigation Department, said such scams are "extremely harmful" as victims often find themselves under huge debt in a short time, which makes some people sell their properties or even commit suicide.

These gangs package themselves as private lending platforms but actually are illegal loan sharks and charge an interest rate of more than 2,000 percent. To collect debts, the gangs will insult or threaten borrowers or resort to violent crimes, such as illegal detention, she said.

"Such a new type of crime not only seriously infringes on the legitimate rights of members of the public, but also disrupt the financial market order and harm social stability," she said.

In the special campaign against gang-related crimes, the ministry has made it a key area to particularly track down and bust gangs involved in loan scams and have sent a number of expert teams to the scene to guide case investigation, according to the ministry.

The ministry will continue its tough line on loan-related scams as a specific measure to deepen the special campaign against gang-related crimes.

It also will apply big data and other information technologies to improve the investigation capabilities to effectively safeguard the safety of people's lives and property, and the overall stability of public security, the ministry said.

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