Instant loan app scam: Telangana cops file chargesheet against Chinese apps

·2-min read
Instant loan app scam: Telangana cops file chargesheet against Chinese apps

The Hyderabad cyber crime police have filed a chargesheet in the instant loan app case, where Chinese nationals allegedly siphoned Rs 21,000 crore from several individuals, as loan recoveries. The Telangana police took up the investigation in December 2020 after six defaulters died by suicide due to alleged harassment by the loan app firms. The police had registered 30 separate cases and had accused 31 people and arrested 28 persons including three Chinese nationals in connection with the loan app fraud. The loan apps granted loans ranging from Rs 1,000 to a few lakh rupees to those in need with minimum KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements. 

They, however, levied high-interest rates and processing fees. The apps, once installed, gained access to all phone contacts, gallery and other sensitive information. Those who defaulted faced inhuman harassment by recovery agents. Some were humiliated in front of friends and acquaintances with messages going out that the victim had ‘cheated’ someone and not to believe them. Others had their pictures morphed and shared on social media as blackmail. The Telangana police found as many as 211 loan app firms operating on app play stores. 

An investigation by TNM found these apps were operating in India through a network of shell companies with no real addresses. The Telangana police had arrested three Chinese nationals Yi Bai, Zhu Wei alias Lambo and Liang Tian Tian in connection with the cases from New Delhi. The police have only added Lambo’s name in the preliminary chargesheet, to prevent him from gaining bail and escaping the country, The Hindu reported. A supplementary charge sheet will be filed after seized computer equipment is analysed by the State Forensic Science Laboratory, the Times of India reported.

Read: Made in China: How the instant loan app racket boomed in India

Read: The ‘instant loan’ swindlers’ list: Chinese owners, Indian proxies & ghost addresses

The police investigation found the gang to have carried out 1.4 crore transactions to the tune of Rs 21,000 crore. The funds extorted from victims of the loan apps were funnelled to Indonesia and then to Shanghai in China and the profits from the loan apps were allegedly diverted for investments in the Virgin Islands, The New Indian Express reported.