Fifty-three employees of a fraudulent art auction company called Jintang have been detained on suspicion of swindling at least 9,000 collectors of 46 million yuan (.70 million) over the past three years.
Shanghai police said yesterday that Jintang charged the collectors 6,000 to 40,000 yuan to hold auction events that were fraudulent affairs and for advertising their antiquities in a magazine called Investment in Art‚ which was never legally registered.
"Bidders" at the so-called auctions were actually people paid 250 yuan a time to pretend to being buyers, police said. Before the auctions, the collectors were lured by often unreasonably high prices set for their antiquities that no genuine bidder would offer.
The auction events were held several times over the past couple of years, often at top hotels.