Fri | Jul 28, 2017

Police probe alleged extortion by reporters

Published:Friday | September 5, 2014 | 9:00 AM

BEIJING (AP):Police detained the chief editor and several employees of an influential Chinese financial news site on allegations they extorted money from companies by threatening to publish negative news about them, state media reported yesterday.

The chief editor and a deputy editor of www.21cbh.com, the website for the 21st Century Business Herald, as well as executives from two public relations agencies, were among eight people detained by police in Shanghai, Xinhua News Agency said.

Xinhua said the website colluded with public relations agencies to blackmail renowned companies or those trying to be listed on an exchange by threatening them with negative coverage. The suspects and their companies profited handsomely from the scheme, trading favourable coverage for money or advertising contracts, Xinhua said.

In a brief online statement, the news site confirmed that several of its employees were taken away on Wednesday night in a police investigation and that the company will cooperate.

"We will deal with related matters with a responsible attitude," the statement said.

News extortion schemes are common in China, especially among its financial news media, although the government tightly controls political and social news.

Most recently, the management team of the financial news channel at the state broadcaster China Central Television was placed under police investigation for alleged graft.