Chinese national among 21 in net by Chandigarh police for loan application fraud : The Tribune India


Tribune press service

Chandigarh, September 12

Twenty-one gang members, including a Chinese national living illegally in India, have been arrested by the UT Police Cyber ​​Crime Cell for duping people under the guise of providing them with an instant loan online and extort money.

Arrested suspects presented to the media by IG RK Singh (2nd from left) in Sector 17, Chandigarh. Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Complainant Arvind Kumar had claimed that he had received a link via text message on his mobile phone to lend it. Once he clicked on the link, the ‘Hugo Loan’ app was installed and upon installation, the complainant gave access to his contacts, gallery, etc.

After filling in his details, the app showed that he was eligible for a loan worth Rs 3,500. The plaintiff uninstalled the app, but then he started receiving threatening calls from different numbers. The suspects asked him to deposit some money or his transformed nude photos would be sent to all his contacts. Frightened, the plaintiff transferred Rs 2,045 and Rs 3,500 to their account.

Vinit Kumar, another townsman who fell prey to the fraud, claimed to have seen an ad on Facebook for an instant loan through a lending app. While installing the app, he got a loan of Rs 2,700 for a few days and repaid Rs 5,000. However, the scammers started calling him, asking him to repay the loan.

When told he had already paid it back, the suspects demanded more money and sent abusive messages and his tweaked photos to his family and friends on WhatsApp.

After receiving the complaints, the police carried out raids in various states including Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and UP and arrested 21 suspects from the Delhi NCR region.

Kaid Parwej Alam aka Jitu Bhadana aka Sonu Bhadana was arrested in Ranchi. Among those arrested were 13 agents, who called the victims from a call center, and five managers/team leaders, in addition to Chinese nationals Wang Cheng and Anshul Kumar, who handled the extorted money. The Chinese national was found residing illegally in India as his visa expired in 2020.

During the investigation, Rs 17.31 lakh in cash was seized from Cheng and Kumar. Additionally, nine laptops, 41 cell phones and one desktop computer were recovered from the gang members.

Operating mode

  • Victims received a link offering an instant loan via text or FB. Once clicked, the “Hugo Loan” app installed, allowing suspects to access victims’ contacts and gallery
  • A small loan amount has been deposited into the account. Even though the money was refunded, threatening calls were made asking for more money or tweaked photos were shared with contacts.

The dragon’s scheme?

  • Instant loan applications were developed and managed by Chinese nationals, investigation suggests
  • They used to target people in India by hiring local staff, offering call center jobs
  • Staff trained in blackmail by giving small loans to victims and making them repeatedly deposit money under duress

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