Nude pics of more than 100 young women have been leaked onto the internet. Details reveal that the victims were forced to hand over naked selfies as collateral to secure financial aid from loan sharks. Highlighting China’s shady underground banking system, it seems that there continues to be a drastic lack of legitimate financial options available to students.
China Youth Daily said that it had found compromising pictures and videos of 167 young women, along with their contact details and relatives addresses. Mainly aged between 19 and 23, the victims were mere megabytes in ten gigabytes worth of material leaked to internet users.
Loan sharks have become a necessary evil of China’s rising consumerism. Unfortunately, because of the country’s under-developed financial system and lack of a proper student loan system, many individuals have no other option but to accept ludicrous interest rates and outrageous means of assurance.
In order to avoid supervision, many of the loan sharks offering “naked loans” operate via social media. QQ seems to be the platform of choice for advertising these “bare loans.” Groups with over two thousand participants, are often named “fruit loans,” “meat compensation” or “sausage” in an attempt to evade authorities.
One reporter from China Youth Daily posted a message in a “fruit loans” group, to which three lenders contacted the reporter offering “bare loans.” One of the lenders, Liu Hui specified the deal was open to only female students, at an non negotiable interest rate of 25% per month. In order to secure the loan, the reporter would have had to send three compromising photos featuring her ID card, and one three-minute video in the bath. Sounds pretty reasonable…
“In addition to some people in need of a loan for a house, most of them just want to buy cosmetics or electronic products,” said Liu Hui.
In June, a victim going by the pseudonym of Li Li, brought this new collateral technique to the attention of the police. According to the woman, a loan shark group granted her a 500 yuan loan with a weekly interest rate of 30%, as she could not repay, the loan quickly increased to 10,000 yuan, at which point the sharks would only renew her loan if she sent them a nude photo with her ID card. By the time she contacted the police the loan had rapidly inflated to 55,000 yuan.
So what happens to those who can’t keep up with the unscrupulous demands of loan sharks? To start with the girls are referred to “meat compensation” groups, which are designed for them to “repay” their debt through prostitution, Liu Hui told Beijing Youth Daily.
Obviously, their nude selfies will also be sold off. Apparently the going rate is 80 yuan for the standard package. If one intends to upgrade to VIP for free “naked” resource updates for a year, the price is 130 yuan, one member told the reporter.
The extent of the extortion is still unknown, although when there are 500 million people in China without a credit card and no real form of student loans, we can guess it’s pretty large.
By Seamus Gibson
[Images via Weibo]
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