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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Scam victims take to the streets

By Huang Jingjing (Global Times)

08:29, January 04, 2012

Demonstrations against the insufficient crackdown on illegal fundraising in Anyang, Henan Province, simmered as the local government pledged to increase measures to combat related crimes.

About 30,000 people gathered at the local train station on New Year's Day for the protest, the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday.

An investment guarantee company reportedly disappeared with about 40 billion yuan ($6.35 billion) collected from locals, Beijing-based news portal hexun.com reported.

"The protest ended hours later after police arrived," a waitress in a hotel near the station told the Global Time.

The local government soon held an emergency meeting and vowed to investigate any breach of duty, according to a statement issued on its official website Monday.

"The demonstration has revealed loopholes in our work to curb illegal fundraising activities," the statement said, citing lack of coordination.

It also pledged to "exact the utmost effort" to investigate the crimes, retrieve funds and reduce losses of those affected.

"Private fundraising has been popular here for years. Some people even obtained loans to invest in these private funds," a local businessman, surnamed Zhang, told the Global Times.

With 300,000 yuan in donations, one is said to be able to get a monthly return of 6,000 yuan, much higher than the 800 yuan offered by the banks, Zhang added. "Some families have been left with nothing as the 'fundraisers' fled or spent all the money," he said.

According to a report by Securities Times in November, in Anyang, with a population of 5 million and an annual GDP of 130 billion yuan, nearly 80 percent are estimated to be involved in illegal fundraising.

The demonstration was met with sympathy, as well as complaints from some locals.

"We are all adults, and should take responsibility for our actions. When those protesting enjoyed high returns, they feared the authority would learn of this. Now they block roads and affect our daily lives. Do they not feel ashamed?" Zhang Zhisen, an Anyang Web user, said yesterday.

Song Shukui, a deputy director of the Anyang Public Security Bureau, said there were two demonstrations on December 23 and 26 in the city, the Anyang Daily reported. Song said they would punish those who fomented the demonstrations through the Internet and mobile phones, as their actions seriously disturbed social order.

"Those people have to bear the consequences of supporting illegal fundraising. The government has no legal responsibility to pay for their losses," Sun Changjiang, director of the Beijing Dacheng (Shenyang) Law Firm, told the Global Times.

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