Three people have been arrested in China for trying to cash in on the government’s corruption crackdown by building a fake interrogation room to blackmail officials.

Four suspects in Suihua, Heilongjiang province spent over RMB200,000 (HK$244,000) and three months to build a fake prosecutor’s office, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.

china fake interrogation room
The fake interrogation room. Photo: Weibo.

The room was decorated with golden walls, desks and interrogation chairs, computers and video recorders, according to pictures posted on microblogging site Weibo. The words “People’s Procuratorate” with an official badge of the procuratorate were stuck on the wall.

china fake interrogation room
Fake prosecutors’ ID. Photo: Weibo.

The suspects decided to “invest” in the counterfeit prosecutor’s office in May this year to extort money from officials as they thought officials were all “scared of being investigated”, Beijing Youth Daily said.

They were busted on their first attempt in August. A local official couple in Suihua, who were kidnapped and interrogated by the suspects, dressed up as prosecutors, called the police upon being released. The victims had agreed to pay RMB400,000 (HK$488,000) to “settle the case.”

So far three suspects have been arrested and one other is still on the run.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.