Twenty-two people have been arrested across India for being linked to a ₹500 crore instant loan-cum-extortion racket allegedly operated by Chinese nationals. The arrests were made by the Delhi police after a close inspection of the gang’s operations for over two months.
The network spread across Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other Indian states, used more than 100 applications to get access to a user’s personal and sensitive information. The information was then uploaded to servers based in China and Hong Kong, reports said.
The applications were initially used to provide small loans to users. A user had to download the application and grant permission to the app. The loan money was then within minutes, credited to the user’s account.
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Upon seeking personal information, the gang members called the user from different numbers procured on fake IDs to extort money. The users were threatened that their morphed nude pictures would be uploaded on the internet if they fail to give the money, Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO) KPS Malhotra told the media.
The money paid was sent to China through hawala transactions or in the form of cryptocurrencies, Malhotra added. The gang used multiple accounts, each reported to have received more that ₹1 crore per day.
Cash Port, Rupee Way, Loan Cube, Wow Rupee, Smart Wallet, Giant Wallet, Hi Rupee and Swift Rupee are some of the applications used by the gang.
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The police upon inspection recovered 51 mobile phones, 25 hard disks, nine laptops, 19 debit cards/credit cards, three cars and ₹4 lakh cash from the accused.
The arrested gang members have told the police that the racket was operated by Chinese nationals. The police are making efforts to trace and arrest other members involved in the racket. So far, more than ₹500 crore has been siphoned off by the Chinese nationals, the police said.
Reports said, after police crackdown, the operatives have shifted their call centres to Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.