The Central Crime Branch of the Chennai Police has arrested two Chinese nationals in Bengaluru for operating predatory instant loan apps illegally.
They were accused of collecting exorbitant rates of interest by threatening and harassing those who had taken loans.
The police also arrested two Indians who were operating a call centre and abetting the Chinese nationals in collecting the money from debtors.
The action was taken on a complaint of harassment filed by a Chennai resident. Ganesan, 35, said he had availed himself of ₹5,000 from a loan app. However, only ₹3,500 was credited into his bank account. Within a week, he was asked to pay the full amount.
When he was unable to pay up, the staff handling the app asked him to download another predatory loan app to get the cash, he said.
Over a period of time, Mr. Ganesan had taken loans from 45 app-based companies, and his dues had gone up to ₹4.5 lakh.
A special team of personnel drawn from the cyber crime wing and the usury and chit fund wing was formed to trace the suspects.
Commissioner of Police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal said, “After working on certain leads, the team found that the addresses of these loan apps were mostly in Bengaluru. Some were in Maharashtra, Gurgaon and Hyderabad. The team analysed the complainant’s bank account in which he had received the loan amount and the accounts into which he had repaid the sum. It then raided a call centre functioning under the name, True Kindle Technology, at HSR Layout, Bengaluru.”
Directors of the company — Promoda, 28 of Indira Nagar, Bengaluru South, and C.P. Pavan, 27, of Tumkur district — were arrested. As many as 21 laptops, 20 mobile phones and documents were seized from them. “They revealed the involvement of three Chinese nationals. Two of them — Xioa Yamao, 38, and Wu Yuanlun, 28, of Guangdong — were operating from Bengaluru. They were arrested and brought to the city,” Mr. Aggarwal said.
“The prime accused Hong has been operating from China using the DingTalk app, while Xioa and Wu were staying at Haralur, Bengaluru, receiving instructions from China. The Chinese nationals were operating the call centre, engaging about 110 locals as tele-callers,” he said.
From the Chinese nationals, the police seized two laptops, six mobile phones, two Chinese passports and ATM cards. They were found using apps such as MyCash, Aurora Loan, Quick Loan, Dmoney, Rapid Loans, Eazy Cash and New Rupee. They were booked for criminal intimidation, extortion and harassment under the Indian Penal Code and the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Charging Exorbitant Interest Act, 2003.
Mr. Aggarwal said the preliminary investigation indicated that the Chinese nationals had cheated and extorted money from over 25,000 persons. “Definitely more persons are involved in this offence. After taking the accused into our custody, we will thoroughly investigate the destination of the proceeds and the persons involved. We may collect inputs from other States as well,” he said.
Central Crime Branch sources said another associate, Dandis, used to visit the call centre. Now, he is in Singapore. He was getting bank account details from Xioa.