Police stand guard at the gate of a Hangzhou branch of Bank of China as disgruntled clients gathered demanding their savings back, May 1. (Internet photo)
A number of people gathered at a state-owned bank in Hangzhou earlier this month claiming their savings had been stolen from the bank and demanded the bank return their money, reports the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.
This is just one in a string of cases of suspected financial fraud reported in recent years. A former Bank of China employee duped more than 100 people into giving him their bank card and password for “safekeeping” for a year. In return, he gave them a higher interest rate for their savings. A counterfeit “guarantee note” with an official bank stamp and details of the agreement was given to each one of the victims as security.
The suspect is then said to have worked with his accomplices to transfer the money elsewhere. More than 100 people fell for the fake guarantee note and the high interest rate and have lost over 100 million yuan (US$16 million) in total.
On May 1, some of the victims gathered at a Hangzhou branch of the bank to ask for their money back. One was reported to have fainted due to their distress.
On May 6, the former Bank of China employee turned himself in to a local police station. Three days later, the police brought in the other three suspects.
In a similar case in 2014, nearly 100 million yuan (US$16.1 million) of savings belonging to 42 account holders at the Hangzhou United Bank were found to be missing. Later, the police found that a criminal ring had bought off one of the bank’s employees to take part in the ploy to dupe clients into giving away their personal information and password when visiting the bank.
The bank compensated its clients for their losses in this case as the fraud was conducted by one of its employees. In other cases, however, the odds that the victims recover their losses are minimal and victims have to engage in lengthy legal proceedings.
Cheng Xuelin, an attorney in Zhejiang province, of which Hangzhou is the capital, said account holders are often at a disadvantage in lawsuits against banks. He called for laws that regulate the banks’ responsibilities regarding employees who violate client trust.
Cheng Xuelin 程學林
Source: Want China Times