Indicating the seriousness with which the government is viewing the involvement of Chinese nationals in running app-based instant loan companies that are in the eye of a controversy after a spate of suicides by their customers across the country, sleuths from the Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau, on Wednesday interrogated the two men from China who were recently arrested by the city police.
Such was the sensitivity attached to the matter that instead of using the Chennai police’s interpreter, RAW and IB brought their own specialist from Delhi to make sure that the details of their interaction with Xia Ya Mau (38) and Yuvan Lun (28) remained confidential, said sources. After busting the racket operating from Bengaluru with the arrest of four persons on January 2, the city police had taken the two Chinese suspects into six-day custody. The custody period ended on Wednesday when the central sleuths grilled them, added sources.
According to officials, the arrested persons had employed more than 100 men in their call centres to make abusive calls to retrieve the loans offered through a dozen micro lending mobile phone applications. Two other Chinese nationals, Hong and Wandish, fled to Singapore just two weeks before the police swooped down on the racket. Officials suspect them to be the kingpins behind the racket.
So far, the police here have arrested eight persons, including those who supplied more than 1,100 SIM cards without proper documentation support, in connection with the loan app fraud. Many of these apps offering small loans at a very high interest rate have been in the dock in the recent days after a series of suicides by their customers in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, allegedly unable to withstand the harassment for delaying repayment.
Meanwhile, investigating a similar case in Telangana, a police team from there arrested two persons, including a Chinese national, from Thane, Maharashtra, on Wednesday. The two were identified as He Jian alias Mark (26) and Vivek Kumar. The police recovered a Chinese passport, a debit card issued in China and equipment used in the company they were running, and also froze a bank account that had Rs 28 crore, reports said.
The arrest reportedly came after a Chinese woman and two others, who were running a call centre for these apps, including the ones owned by Mark, were arrested in Pune.