Police in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have detained 479 people who were allegedly involved in a loan fraud case, local authorities said Wednesday.
According to police in Baotou, the suspects promised interest-free and unsecured loans to people in urgent need and then raised the payments and forced the borrowers to pay more using various illegal means.
If the borrowers could not pay on time, the suspects harassed them on the phone, or spread rumors about them to their family and friends through messaging services if they changed their phone number.
Police received a report from a Baotou resident in February that he was forced to pay more than 350,000 yuan (55,637 U.S. dollars) for a loan of less than 1,000 yuan he borrowed eight months ago.
After a month of investigation, the police located the suspects in Jiangsu, Shanxi, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, and detained them with the help of local police on April 2. The suspects are now being transported to Baotou to face charges.
Over 1,000 laptops and mobile phones, and many bank cards were seized.
The case is under investigation.