The predatory lending of a Northwest China gang led to the criminals illegally pocketing RMB 2.8 billion ($428 million) and driving 89 people to commit suicide, according to a recent state media report, said Caixin.
China’s law enforcement bodies have been cracking down on such practices for several years, going after criminal loan sharks and the big data companies that have helped them gather borrowers’ personal information.
The gang based in Lanzhou, Gansu province, used internet platforms to issue loans to more than 390,000 people, according to a report on the case broadcast by national broadcaster CCTV. Due to sky-high interest rates, these loans were virtually impossible to repay, leading to dozens of suicides amid violent debt collection.
They issued loans worth nearly RMB 6.3 billion before the local police busted the gang in 2019, arresting 253 suspects and closing down 1,317 illegal loan issuance apps and websites, the report said.