Some women are sending naked photos of themselves holding their ID cards to peer-to-peer lenders as collateral, reports say.
Beijing Youth Daily said the act was taking place among some Chinese women on a popular online peer-to-peer lender called Jiedaibao.
Women are now being called to protect themselves from predators who are reportedly blackmailing them with the nude photographs, sometimes demanding sexual services when the women cannot repay at interest rates that can be as high as 30 percent a week.
A call seeking comment to Jiedaibao, a leading company in China’s flourishing peer-to-peer lending market, was not answered late on Wednesday in Beijing, according New York Times reports
Beijing Youth Daily, said the practice was an “open secret.”. It wrote:
“With ‘naked holding’ they can get two to five times the amount of money, but when they can’t repay some have been threatened with publishing the photographs, and some lenders are even demanding the female students provide sexual services,”
A man with the online handle of Beijing Ninth Uncle on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, said he was gathering evidence that women from many different walks of life, including farmers and university students, were falling afoul of the lenders’ demands. The man said he was a writer on the finance industry.
Beijing Youth Daily wrote about the case of a university student from Jiangsu Province in central China, whom it gave the pseudonym of Lin Xiao.
Her troubles began when she borrowed 500 renminbi, about $75, from a lender in February to open an online store. At 30 percent interest on the one-week loan, she quickly needed more money to repay the debt, eventually borrowing about 120,000 renminbi from 15 people, a sum that soon ballooned into 250,000 renminbi (about $38,000) at the high interest rate.
Eventually, the woman supplied a nude photograph of herself in exchange for a larger loan to try to escape her debt, including personal information such as contact numbers and addresses for family members. When she could not repay, the lender threatened to show the photographs to her family and friends, the newspaper reported.
As the circle of debt widened, so did the distribution of the naked photographs, until they were in the hands of three online lenders, Beijing Youth Daily reported. At that point she told her family and, with their help, began to clear the debt. “But I still owe about 60,000 renminbi,” she said.