Chinese usury ring nets 1 million victims

By Dac Thanh   July 24, 2023 | 03:24 pm PT
Chinese usury ring nets 1 million victims
Three Chinese people are arrested by police of Quang Nam Province for running an usury ring, July 2023. Photo courtesy of the police
Forty-five people in Quang Nam Province, including three Chinese, were arrested for running an usury ring that trapped over a million people in some VND20 trillion ($844.77 million) of debt.

Following a monthlong investigation, 45 people were detained by police in the central Vietnamese province for multiple crimes, including usury, extortion and illegal transport of goods and money across the border, police said Monday.

Authorities said the ring was operated by 11 masterminds, including three Chinese. Forty-nine Vietnamese people also helped operate the ring, according to investigators.

The ring provided high-interest loans through several apps, with some interest rates reaching as high as 2,346.4% a year, over 100 times higher than commercial banks' rates. One application alone, named "Great Vay," had already induced a million Vietnamese borrowing money.

From December 2020 to July 2023, the ring had allowed loans totaling to VND20 trillion and had illegally gained over VND8 trillion. It also laundered money and transferred a total of VND5 trillion in illegally gained money abroad. It did so through dozens of fake companies and thousands of bank accounts.

Earlier this month, following a raid on several facilities related to the ring, as well as the summons of dozens of people, authorities locked down transactions at 11 real estate properties worth over VND70 billion, froze 88 bank accounts, and seized over 100 phones and computers.

Quang Nam police said whoever borrowed money from the apps operated by the ring should come forward for help.

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