How the Chinese Spread Tentacles Around India

As Nepal continues the crackdown, the city’s cyber cops identify the masterminds of the loan app scam, who entered India in 2018 with millions in dirty money to entrap thousands of unsuspecting Indians


Nepali police raided several illegal call centers run by the gang






The Mumbai Cyber ​​Cell issued lookouts for two Chinese nationals suspected of being the kingpins of the loan app scam where thousands of Indians have been duped out of thousands of crores since 2019. After two months of thorough investigation, the cops have now found out how the loan application scam started and flourished in the country. Cyber ​​cops discovered that the company was established in 2018 by a group of Chinese nationals led by Liu Yi. Yi is also on the run in a money laundering case being investigated by the Law Enforcement Branch. Bhubaneshwar Police also recently issued a surveillance circular against him.

According to cyber experts investigating the matter, following an in-depth midday report that forced the previous government to learn of the scam and issue instructions to state and Mumbai to launch an investigation, the gang has operated in India since 2019 and gained momentum during the pandemic in 2020. Officers have so far arrested 14 people from different parts of the country while investigating no less of 23 cases, which have since been bludgeoned, related to the scam of loan applications and harassment by loan collection agents.

Also Read: Loan Application Scam: Nepalese cops get treasure trove of Mumbai business info

how it started

Although the cops did not reveal many details as senior Mumbai police officers are expected to address a press conference today (Friday), sources said at midday that the Detailed investigation of more than 200 such loan applications had led them to two Chinese nationals. —Liu Yi and his partner.

A group of Chinese nationals led by Yi came to India in 2018 and established the colluding network with Indian nationals, sources said, adding that the Chinese nationals already had existing businesses in India, which were used to start. illegal digital lending activity. The group reportedly left the country before the pandemic hit in 2020.

Illustration/Ouday Mohite
Illustration/Ouday Mohite

The accused is said to have already created and uploaded the loan apps on various app platforms like Play Store before arriving in India, sources said. While fake Indian addresses were used when downloading the apps, the email ids used were traced to China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Operations

Chinese nationals, instead of establishing call centers in India, have hired Indian nationals for different positions. Some were hired as supervisors and then hired more people to make loan collection calls, while others were hired to turn pictures of borrowers. Investigators also discovered that the gang advertised the apps on various mediums such as social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram as well as TV channels. The advertisements stated that loans of up to Rs 20,000 would be available with a single click with an interest of just Rs 400 for one week.

“The business has taken a huge boost during the pandemic as a number of citizens lost their jobs and struggled to make ends meet,” an officer said. Meanwhile, the masterminds have started investing in Nepal and have opened illegal call centers, some of which have been dismantled by the Nepalese police over the past two weeks in Kathmandu and Rupandehi.

Multiple layers to hide the trace

The money needed to run the scam was funneled to India via hawala, and the Chinese nationals’ existing businesses played a significant role there, sources said. As digital lending activity started to grow rapidly during the pandemic, the Reserve Bank of India took notice and issued guidelines for digital lending in December 2020.

Now, in an effort to leave little to no trace in the transactions and to evade the eyes of investigative agencies, the accused has used at least 10-12 diapers for each transaction. According to officers, the recovered money is quickly sent from one UPI to another more than 10 times before it is converted into cryptocurrency and then sent to China. The cops found millions of such UPI transactions.

Arrests to date

Cyber ​​cops got the first lead in the case in the last week of June and arrested an Andhra Pradesh defendant identified as 25-year-old Sudhakar Reddy, who led cops to five other defendants in Karnataka. These five defendants, in turn, gave the police the contact details of other defendants in Gurgaon, Manipur, Haryana and Mumbai.

During the two months of investigation, 14 people were arrested in different parts of the country. One of the defendants arrested in Nainital in Uttarakhand, identified as 24-year-old Priyanshi Kandpal, is believed to be one of the main defendants. Kandpal turned out to be in direct contact with foreign nationals. She was in charge of collecting information from the main supervisors and translating it into Chinese and sending it to the pivots in China.

14
Number of defendants arrested in the case so far








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