BEIJING – Chinese police have detained 132 people on suspicion of involvement in a fraud syndicate that scammed nearly 1 billion yuan (around $145.3 million) from victims who were told they were at a high risk of cancer, the official news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday.
The detentions took place in raids since April concerning more than 2,000 cases of medical fraud.
A firm based in the city of Dalian (northeast) initiated a national fraud network that included beauty salons that attracted high-income clients that did not speak English and did not have any medical knowledge.
These salons would send the victims to countries like the United States and Thailand, where they were recommended to undergo tests that were carried out by impersonators who told the victims they had a high risk of cancer and conned them into paying for expensive medicines.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, the alleged medicines were in fact food coloring.
Apart from the detentions, the authorities have frozen some 500 suspicious bank accounts linked to the fraud containing more than 70 million yuan ($10.2 million).