Bhubaneswar: On the request of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Odisha Crime Branch, the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has issued a look out circular against a Chinese national Liu Yi, the main accused in a fake mobile loan app scam.
A Look Out circular is generally issued to alert immigration check posts at airports/seaports etc. to alert law enforcement agencies if the wanted person tries to leave the country or arrive inside the country from abroad, said police officials.
The accused used to run 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, etc.
In one App alone there are more than 1.5 lakh downloads. It is suspected that they have cheated/ extorted lakhs of people across the country, particularly targeting lower middle-class people in need of small loan especially during the difficult time of Covid-19 pandemic, said the EOW officials.
The Chinese national has started his illegal business in India in 2019 from Bangalore. His parent company was Jianbing Technology in Hangzhou China. He is the director of Omlette 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 used to make his employees or any needy people directors of the shell companies but actually used to control the companies and bank accounts.
The accused in support of the other duo also used many Call centers to make abusive calls to loanees. It is suspected that they are running such illegal loan apps in other countries too, especially in Thailand, further informed 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, Bangalore and Delhi and frozen Rs 6.57 crore.
These fake loan apps once downloaded in one’s mobile play store, small amounts ranging from Rs.3,000 to Rs.10,000 is credited in the customer’s bank account. Once the amount is credited to the customer’s bank account, within a week the customer/borrower is asked to repay the amount with an excessive rate of interest.
On denial to pay the high rate of interest, the concerned customer is humiliated/ bullied in many ways. Obscene messages and indecent pictures along with abusive texts in filthy languages are sent to his/her whatsapp number and as well as to his/her contact list as a coercive measure to recover the loan amount with interest.
This process of recovery is so overbearing and humiliating that there are some instances of the customers committing suicide. There have already been more than 1.5 lakh downloads of KOKO and JOJO loans. EOW has received more than 100 complaints from Odisha related to illegal/ abusive activities of illegal Loan APP.