China’s New Spy Strategy in India: Loan Apps, Rummy Online and Hawala Operations

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The recent arrests of Chinese spies in various states in India over the past 24 months has spawned an interesting covert espionage strategy in India by the People’s Liberation Army of China (PLA) – hawala operators running money laundering racketeering through Loan Apps and Rummy Internet.

Recently, the Karnataka Cyber ​​Criminal Investigation Office arrested the Rs 290 crore hawala fraud and arrested 11 people, including two Chinese, two Tibetans and five people who were acting as directors of Shell companies.

The Investigative Police told GoaChronicle that the criminal case was registered on the basis of CCPS Cr No. 08/2021 u / s 66 (D) IT Act & 420 IPC. During the investigation, it was established that Anas Ahmed, a businessman from Kerala, is the main person involved in this hawala and money laundering. We have also established that he has very close ties to Chinese hawala operators, which came to light during the investigation. He opened shell companies on behalf of Bullfinch Technologies, H&S Ventures, and Clifford Ventures to channel money.

Anas Ahmed is married to Chinese citizen Hu Xiolin and, incidentally, studied in China. Hu Xiolin holds a Chinese passport.

Police said the Online Rummy apps it hosted were later disguised and transformed into various applications such as Power Bank Application, Sun Factory Application, seeking investments from the public promising good returns. On the day that Anas Ahmed announced much higher returns, there was an unusual surge in user investment. According to his plan, applications from the Google Playstore and other sites were removed, and he went into hiding with the money.

Investigations revealed that a total of Rs 290 crore had been deposited into his bank accounts. The cybercrime department managed to freeze a significant portion of the account money.
The investigation also notes that there has been a huge surge in front company openings since November 2020.

Investigators say they also noticed that Chinese operators own a huge number of shell companies and bank accounts. Attracted by the offer of Chinese citizens, many innocent Indians and Tibetans have fallen into the trap of setting up shell companies and opening bank accounts for them.

In August 2020, Luo San was a suspect in the Rs1,000 hawala extortion by the Law Enforcement Administration (ED). He adopted Native American ancestry and, as a director, ran five companies in India. He controlled most of the companies as a majority shareholder. He claimed to be an Indian citizen from Manipur named Charlie Peng. Sang as Indian citizen Peng presented Aadhaar card and PAN card as identification when the company was established.

Lu Sang’s first company called Sang was incorporated in March 2018 under the name Fin Block India Private Limited. In 2019, Sang joined the boards of directors of three more companies – INWIN Logistics Private Limited, OTA New Delhi Private Limited and Clean Harbor Private Limited. In 2020, he founded another company OTA Logistic Private Limited – a transport and travel company.

He sang while Peng poured in cash of about Rs 3 crores through the hawala network on a daily basis with the help of bankers at Bandhan Bank and ICICI Bank. He had over 40 bank accounts.

In January 2021, Lu Sang (Charlie Peng) and Carter Li, another Chinese citizen, were arrested by ED in a Rs1,000 money laundering case.

Sang was previously arrested in 2018 by the Joint Central Intelligence Services Group and the Delhi Special Police Cell for impersonating and forgery. He married an Indian citizen in order to expedite obtaining an Indian passport. Investigators claimed he worked for the Chinese intelligence services and ran a hawala transaction business through a currency exchange firm, but in 2019 a Delhi court released him on bail.

During interrogations at the time, Sang reportedly confessed to various stories, including that he was a Tibetan fleeing persecution from China, a criminal forced to spy by the Chinese government, and that he was a PLA soldier. “He was a tough nut to crack. A trained spy, he baffled investigators. He changed his Chinese background several times to deceive us, ”an official who interrogated him in 2018 told GoaChronicle.

Sang told his investigators that his mission was to enter the Dalai Lama’s inner circle, as well as help Chinese embassy officials with money transfers and logistics.

Last year, a special cyber cell squad from the Central Criminal Branch (CCB) grabbed three people who were lending and collecting huge amounts of money in the name of interest, compound interest and brokerage fees on behalf of Chinese-owned companies.

On Monday, police said Syed Ahmed, Syed Irfan and Aditya Senapati were arrested.

After receiving complaints, the CCB Cyber ​​Crime cell raided Ace Pearl Services Pvt., Ltd at the Koramangala annex in the city. To their surprise, it was discovered that there were four other firms operating there, all providing loans online and collecting interest, compound interest and fees. If borrowers do not provide the money they require, they face dire consequences.

In another surprise for CCB, four other firms were run by Chinese, including Higelar Services Pvt., Ltd., Exceedwell Service Pvt., Ltd. Mascotstar Services Pvt Ltd. Aqua Stiller Pvt. Ltd. who have used apps such as Loan App, Money day, Paise a Pan, Loan Time, Rupee Day, Rupee Kart in Cash. They had information centers to collect loans.

CCB detectives seized 35 laptops, 200 basic mobile phones from different companies, 8 checkbooks from different banks, 30 SIM cards from different companies.

Last year, the Enforcement Administration (ED) filed a lawsuit against seven companies, of which three are financial technology companies, namely Mad Elephant Network Technology Private Limited, Baryonyx Technology Private Limited and Cloud Atlas Future Technology Private Limited, which are under control. Chinese citizens and three NBFCs (non-bank finance companies) registered with RBI. Chinese loan applications offered loans to individuals and charged usurious interest and processing fees.

Also last year, Telangang police arrested Chinese citizens Zhu Wei, Yi Bai, Liang Tian Tian and Yah Hao in money laundering scams in a Chinese loan application worth Rs 1,100 crore.

Yah Hao, a Chinese citizen, Diraj Sarka, Ankit Kapoor and Niraj Tuli were directors of Dookypay, an e-wallet company based in Delhi. The quartet helped transfer money from those involved in online gambling, the parent company, Beijing’s T Power Company.

In addition, a freelance journalist was arrested last year by the Delhi special police department for transferring sensitive data to China, and he is now approaching the alleged hawala traffickers involved in the case. Huge sums of money were reportedly sent to Rajiv Sharma through hawala operators from both front companies owned by Chinese citizen Qing Shi.

Last week, border guards (BSF) arrested Chinese citizen Han Junwe near the border between India and Bangladesh. He reportedly worked for Chinese intelligence in India.

According to a statement released by the BSF South Bengal Frontier, Han Junwe, a resident of Hubei Province in China, is being sought and properly interrogated. All intelligence agencies are working together on this incident.

“An extensive search for electronic equipment recovered from the Chinese attacker, many facts indicate that he worked for the Chinese intelligence agency in India,” – said the Force and hinted that many “startling details” could emerge in the process in depth.

During interrogation by BSF officials, Junwe also admitted that one of his business partners, namely Sun Jiang, sent him 10-15 Indian SIM numbers for mobile phones that he and his wife had received a few days later. ” days ago, his business partner was caught by ATS in Lucknow, who reported me and my wife, and a case was filed against us at ATS in Lucknow. “

According to him, due to the case filed against him, he did not receive an Indian visa in China and received a visa from Bangladesh and Nepal to come to India so that he could come to India.

Junwe also said that before that, he had visited India four times, first, and in 2010, he had traveled to Hyderabad, Delhi and Gurugram three times after 2019.

According to him, he has a hotel “Star source” in Gurugram. Some of his colleagues at this hotel came from China, while the rest of the Indians were working.

Interrogation and a seized passport revealed that he arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh on June 2, 2021 on a business visa and stayed there with a Chinese friend. Then on June 8, 2021, he arrived in Sona Masjid, Chapainawabganj District (Bangladesh), and stayed at a hotel there. On June 10, 2021, while trying to penetrate the territory of India, he was caught by the Black Sea Fleet troops.

On a thorough search, one Apple laptop, two iPhone Mobiles, one Bangladeshi SIM, one Indian SIM, two Chinese SIMs, two Pen Drives, three batteries, two small flashlights, five cash machines, two ATMs / Master Cards , US dollar, Bangladeshi dollar. Taka and Indian currency were withdrawn from his possession.

Indian intelligence agencies have succeeded in capturing several Chinese spies acting as hawala operators, but there is still an inevitable need to spy on many Chinese firms in India.

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