Lenders threaten borrowers with nude pics

By Kou Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/15 1:33:01

Online peer-to-peer platform denies culpability in ‘collateral’ collection

Lenders on Internet lending platforms have threatened several female students with the exposure of nude pictures of themselves, after the young women exchanged the photos for high-interest loans that they failed to repay.

Some lenders have been using online lending platforms to offer female college students high-interest loans on the condition that the borrowers hand over nude photos of themselves holding their ID cards as collateral, Guangzhou's Nandu Daily reported Tuesday.

If the borrowers cannot repay the loan, the lenders then threaten to expose the photos or contact borrowers' parents.

The usurers have demanded interest rates as high as 30 percent per week, the report said.

JD Capital's Jiedaibao, a popular online peer-to-peer lending platform allegedly involved in the incident, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the use of nude pictures as collateral for a loan is a private deal between users in which the company cannot interfere.

"We will warn users in the future to protect their privacy and urge them to contact the police if it's necessary," said a staffer with Jiedaibao's customer service department.

Li Li (pseudonym), a female student who borrowed money through an online lending platform, told the Nandu Daily that the lenders have threatened to expose her nude pictures if she cannot repay her debt.

"At first I only borrowed 500 yuan ($76) from a lender on the platform at an interest rate of 30 percent per week. As the interest accumulated, I had to borrow more to pay the debt and offered nude pictures as collateral. Currently, I owe the lender 55,000 yuan," Li said.

Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Communication University of China, told the Global Times that the lenders' actions have clearly violated the law, while the online peer-to-peer lending platforms should also take some amount of responsibility.

According to China's Criminal Law, those who distribute lewd pictures can be imprisoned for to up to two years, and the punishment will be even more severe if such information is spread to juveniles.

"Online lending platforms have a responsibility to supervise users who are doing business by using their services, including lenders. Online platforms should also be punished for their loose supervision," Wang said.

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, is studying ways of collecting and distributing data on how funds raised online are being used because of the risks posed by unregulated lending, the director of its statistics department, Sheng Song, said in May.

Online peer-to-peer lending platforms have expanded rapidly in China, along with the number of fraud cases.

Online peer-to-peer broker Ezubao cheated about 900,000 investors out of more than 50 billion yuan in a giant Ponzi scheme, the Xinhua News Agency reported in February.

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