Four men in China created a fake interrogation room in an abandoned mall to scam money out of frightened officials, South China Morning Post reports.
Police in the city of Suihua arrested three of the four suspects for alleged racketeering on September 28, local media reported Monday. One remains at large.
The three suspects reportedly confessed they had spent three months and more than $243,000 to build the bogus setup.
— David Moore@SCMP (@DavidMooreSCMP) October 20, 2015
But the scheme backfired after the men interrogated a manager in the city's Agriculture Department in late August and demanded $63,000 to settle the case.
The official and his wife alerted authorities, police later tracked the men and two were arrested. One turned himself in.
A similar case was reported in China in July when a man was arrested for setting up his home to look like a police station, complete with an interrogation room of its own, South China Morning Post reports.
The man launched the scheme in 2013 in which he charged his victims fees to solve their issues, South China Morning Post adds. But his cover was blown after he tried to blackmail his ex-girlfriend with a secret sex tape and she reported the threat to authorities, according to Chutian Metropolis Daily.
Upon searching Lei’s home, officers found police and military uniforms, handcuffs and stun guns, among other items. The man also drove a car with a siren and was discovered to have impersonated an army captain.
When Lei’s girlfriend initiated the couple's break-up, he told her he had had been monitoring her with a GPS-tracking device.
Last week, Lei demanded $101,000 from the woman as a break-up fee for having been a good boyfriend.
A police investigation is ongoing.