(Photo: Global Times)
Police in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province urged suspects of online peer-to-peer (P2P) platforms who have fled China to surrender, after the founder of a P2P lender returned to China and surrendered to authorities on Thursday.
The founder of the Shenzhen-based Baiyimao Financial Service Company surnamed He, 47, was the first suspect in P2P crimes in Guangdong to return to China and give himself up.
He left China on July 16 after his company was charged with illegally receiving public deposits. Four other suspects were detained, and authorities have frozen 6 million yuan ($878,000), the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau said Thursday. Police did not identify the country He fled to.
The day He returned to China and turned himself in, five national authorities, including the National Supervisory Commission, Supreme People's Court and Ministry of Public Security, issued a joint statement urging suspects of duty-related crimes who have fled China to give themselves up if they want leniency, Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
Fugitives who opt to surrender before December 31 and confess to their crimes will be eligible for lesser offenses, the statement said.
Shenzhen police said on Thursday that fugitives who refuse to surrender before the deadline would face severe punishment.
"He's surrender served as a warning to other suspects in P2P-related crimes, as many such suspects fled overseas this year due to stronger government supervision over the P2P industry," Lu Zhenwang, founder of Shanghai Wanqing Commerce Consulting and an independent e-commerce analyst, told the Global Times on Friday.
On Thursday, another Guangdong-based P2P platform, newunion.cn, experienced difficulty in withdrawing funds, Securities Times reported Thursday.
In July, 165 P2P platforms reported problems, among which 65 percent had difficulty in withdrawing funds, while executives of 8.7 percent of those firms stole money and ran away, according to a report released on July 30 by domestic industry website wdzj.com.
It's important that authorities better scrutinize the founders of P2P platforms when they applied for overseas travel to prevent some suspects from fleeing China, as it's difficult to extradite suspects from countries like the US and Canada, Lu said.