Photo: Sina Weibo

A futuristic Chinese bus project might just have been confirmed as a scam.

The Transit Elevated Bus, or TEB, is a “bus” that runs on a track that effectively straddles the road, and was touted as the solution to China’s transit problems when it was first unveiled back in May last year. A prototype was completed in August, but media outlets in China soon alleged the project had misled investors and was funded illegally.

On Sunday, Beijing’s eastern district police announced on Weibo that 32 people connected to Huaying Kailai, the asset company linked to the project, have been arrested. Huaying Kailai, a peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platform, is the parent company of TEB Technology, the company behind the bus straddling project. The arrests were made over three days from July 28 to July 30, the police said.

The CEO of Huaying, Bai Danqing, otherwise known as Bai Zhiming, was among those arrested, according to Chinese media outlet The Paper. Bai has touted himself as the “godfather of TEB technology.”

The news also put the spotlight on China’s often unregulated P2P lending platforms. Huaying had raised as much as US$26 million by using crowdfunding and promised high returns to investors.

The arrests might just put the final lid on the coffin for the besieged project. Beijing police also said on Sunday that investors should file complaints with the police, and added that they are working to recover money from the company.

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