On the request of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Odisha police, the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has issued a lookout circular against Liu Yi, a Chinese national and main accused in a mobile loan app scam, police said on Tuesday.
The accused was running many illegal mobile loan apps like KOKO Loan, JOJO Loan, Golden Lightening Loan, Silver Kredit Loan, Gold Cash loan, Little Borrow Loan, Tap Credit Loan, Kredit bear Loan, Speedy rupee Loan, Xpress credit Loan, Kredit Plan loan. In one app alone there are more than 1.5 lakh downloads. It is suspected that they cheated/ extorted lakhs of people across the country and particularly targeted lower middle-class people who were in need of small loans, especially during the difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic, said the EOW officials.
The Chinese national had started his illegal business in India in 2019 from Bengaluru. His parent company was Jianbing Technology in Hangzhou China. He is the director of Omelette technology private limited, but indirectly controls/ owns eight other firms, including IWT India, Ocean trading, Yellow Tune Technologies private limited and Techlite development private limited, they said.
The EOW officials also suspect that there are at least two more Chinese persons who used to assist him in his scam. They made employees or any needy persons directors of the shell companies, but actually controlled the companies and bank accounts. They used many call centres to make abusive calls to loanees. It is suspected that they are running such illegal loan apps in other countries too, especially in Thailand, said the officials.
In this case, the EOW has already arrested five accused accomplices of the Chinese mastermind. EOW is in touch with various state police and has conducted raids in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, and frozen Rs 6.57 crore. During investigation, the EOW found that the apps offered small loan amounts ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 to its customers through their bank accounts through UPI or a link. After the money was credited to the customers' bank accounts, officials of the two apps would ask them to return the loan amount at a high rate of interest within a week. When the customers confronted them over the high-interest rate, the accused would abuse the customers, they added.