Hongkou prosecutors highlight taoludai crimes

Tian Shengjie
The district's people's procuratorate said it had  handled 75 taoludai cases involving 195 people since 2018 and had approved the arrest of 156 people with 50 cases completed.
Tian Shengjie

Hongkou District People’s Procuratorate said on Friday that it had handled 75 taoludai cases involving 195 people since 2018, approving the arrest of 156. Fifty cases had been completed, the authority said.

Taoludai is a crime where suspects persuade victims to sign loan agreements. In the IOUs, the amount borrowed is higher than the actual amount. 

The suspect will make fake bank transfer records by transferring money to victims' accounts and ask them to withdraw the money and give it back to them. Then, the suspect will demand money from victims through judicial channels or with threats of violence.

Taoludai cases are likely to be related to “evil forces,” the procuratorate said. Six cases it has handled had been identified as evil-force crimes since 2018.

It added that because the evidence provided by suspects in taoludai cases had legal effect, the criminal always won the lawsuits.

To make evidence seem legal, some extortion gangs would employ lawyers, according to a report by Song Zaicheng, a police officer in Guangdong Province.

However, in January 2018, the State Council announced a 3-year plan to root out evil forces. Illegally practicing usury and violence in collecting debts are on the list of evil forces. Under this plan, judicial authorities are paying more attention to such cases, and especially taoludai.

Hongkou procuratorate published several taoludai cases related to evil forces on Friday.

In one case, between 2015 and 2018, two men, surnamed Wang and Gao, extorted 4.3 million yuan (US$623,000) from five people. They forced the victims to sign IOUs with figures more than twice as much as the actual amounts. When a victim refused to return the higher amount, they splashed red paint on a wall at the victim’s home.

Because they had fake bank transfer records and the IOUs with the victims’ signatures, they sued the victims and twice won lawsuits.

Last year, Wang and Gao were sentenced to 14 years and 11 years in jail, respectively.

Putuo District People’s Procuratorate also released a taoludai case on Friday. A gang of six people were sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years on Tuesday, with fines between 10,000 yuan and 100,000 yuan.

When a victim, surnamed Sun, wanted to pay back his loan, a suspect even made an excuse that he was out of town to deliberately let Sun defer the repayment and break a contract, the authority said.

Since 2015, Sun had borrowed 120,000 yuan from the gang and signed IOUs totaling 700,000 yuan. Finally, after being threatened and harassed at his apartment, Sun paid 250,000 yuan last year in order to return to his normal life.

The Hongkou procuratorate noted that some organizations were qualified to make loans but that didn’t mean what they were doing was legal. 

It said that anyone needing a loan should go through regular channels, such as banks. 

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