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People's Daily Online>>China Society

'Beautiful' fugitive nabbed in Shanghai

By Zhou Wenting and Song Wenwei (China Daily)

14:20, March 30, 2012

A woman dubbed "the most beautiful businesswoman" in East China's Jiangsu province has been captured in Shanghai by police, local authorities said on Thursday

Police allege the woman fled in early March to escape loan debts totaling 500 million yuan ($79 million).

Gu Chunfang was arrested on Tuesday night while harboring in a rented residence in Shanghai, and she is now in criminal detention on charges of illegally absorbing public deposits, the public security authority of Changshu, Jiangsu province, said at a news conference.

The beautiful boss, once a leading actress in a video promoting the city image, became emotionally unstable and mutilated herself when found by the police, police said, though that did not endanger her life.

Gu, 40, is the legal representative of Suzhou Kaiweilong Trading Co, which is involved in items from cement to articles of daily use.

The city's investigation team for economic crimes has received reports from more than 20 people since March 5 alleging that Gu had disappeared after borrowing large amounts of money which she did not repay, said Xu Qi, a spokesman for the Changshu police.

Preliminary investigation results showed Gu borrowed more than 400 million yuan from 20 people since 2008 with the excuse of running coal businesses and being short of funds. She offered attractive annual interest rates of 25 to 30 percent.

However, a victim in the case, who goes by the name of "Yucheng XiaoY" on the Internet, said Gu had borrowed millions of yuan from him, and promised to pay interest at rates of 30 to 40 percent per year.

Police said nearly 400 million yuan involved in the case was raised from individuals, and another 100 million yuan was collected from commercial banks and local businesses.

Gu had been to Singapore after she disappeared on March 3, said Xia Jiangang, deputy director of the city's police authority, and they are investigating the reason for the departure.

Police reminded the public to be cautious before becoming involved in private financing.

Wu Ying, a 30-year-old businesswoman, was sentenced to death on Jan 19 by the Higher People's Court of Zhejiang province on charges of illegally fundraising 770 million yuan.

Sun Feng, the former head of a bank branch in Jiangyin, Jiangsu province, is the target of a global manhunt after fleeing at the end of last year with more than 100 million yuan illegally raised from relatives and friends.

Some lawyers said high-interest loans bring not only economic threats, but also social harm, because they are often connected with illegal tactics.

"They sometimes take extreme approaches, such as taking control of people's personal freedom, illegal detention, and intimidating their families, instead of legal proceedings," said Li Benjin, a lawyer at Jiangsu Xuanbo Law Firm.

He said high-interest loans are common in Shanghai and Jiangsu, but the crackdown is not strong enough as some officials could be involved.

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