Beijing, Dec 6 : The Chinese police have detained 132 people on suspicion of involvement in a fraud syndicate that scammed nearly 1 billion yuan ($145.7 million) from victims who were told they were at a high risk of cancer, the Ministry of Public Security announced on Thursday.
The suspects belonged to the fraud syndicate initiated by a company named "Silande", based in the city of Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, the ministry said in a statement.
The detentions took place in raids since April concerning over 2,000 cases of medical fraud, Xinhua news agency reported.
The firm allegedly developed a national fraud network disguised as beauty salons. To lure victims into the fraud scheme, the salons offered some of their clients free tours to the US and Thailand and then persuaded them to take medical examinations there.
When explaining examination results, "doctors", impersonated by someone hired, warned the victims of their so-called high cancer risk and tricked them into buying expensive "anti-cancer medicines", which were, in fact, lycopene and anthocyanin, the ministry said.
"The scheme targeted high-income and healthy clients who did not speak English nor had medical or legal backgrounds," it said.
During the raids, the police froze about 500 suspicious bank accounts with more than 70 million yuan.