GUANGZHOU • A growing number of Chinese university students are being targeted by loan sharks who demand nude photographs as collateral, according to a report in the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Daily.
"The nude photos will be made public if the borrowers fail to repay their debts with interest," an insider was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Some students who failed to repay their debts in time have sought police help, accompanied by their parents, after being threatened with sexual violence or having their nude photos published online, the newspaper said.
One female university student, who was referred to as Li Li, said the loan sharks asked students to provide photocopies of their identity cards, student cards and family data, plus their nude photos, before they were granted a loan.
"Many students have borrowed the money from the loan shark groups by leaving their nude photos with the lenders," Ms Li told the local media.
"The interest rates usually reach more than 30 per cent a year, and a student can borrow from several hundred yuan to many thousand yuan, according to the materials and data they offer," she said.
The loan amount is often contingent on the level of the borrower's education, she added.
Ms Li borrowed money from a loan shark group to start a business in February and said she had since been warned that her nude photos would be published if she failed to repay her debt.
Mr Zhang Xinnian, a lawyer from Beijing, said publishing other people's nude photographs was a serious infringement of their personal privacy. He urged victims to seek police help or go to court to protect their legal interests.
Local police did not comment on the cases on Tuesday.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK