Chinese media reported Thursday that police in Shanghai have taken into custody eight suspects — including journalists — who were accused of extorting money from companies and threatening those that didn’t pay with negative news reports.
The journalists worked at www.21cbh.com, an influential financial news website, The Associated Press reported. They’re accused of partnering with public relations agents to blackmail companies that were trying to gain listings on an exchange to pay a fee or face negative news coverage, AP said.
Those that paid received favorable coverage.
Xinhua News Agency said the extortionists were able to make quite a bit of money from the scheme.
AP reported that such blackmail deals are fairly common in the country, particularly at news organizations that focus on finances and markets.