Officials to release money to customers after China bank protest
Beijing, July 12 (IANS) Authorities in China's Henan province say they will start releasing money to customers who have had their funds frozen by several rural banks, the BBC reported.
The announcement came just a day after a rare protest in Henan's capital, Zhengzhou, turned violent.
Payments will be made in batches from this Friday, local regulators say.
The four banks that were the focus of the protests are believed to have frozen a total of 39bn yuan ($5.8bn) of deposits.
The Henan Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau and the Henan Provincial Local Financial Supervision Bureau said "advance payments" would be made to customers through a local association supervised by China's central bank.
The regulators asked customers to contact the association from Friday.
On Sunday, a protest over the frozen deposits, which was attended by hundreds of people in Zhengzhou, turned violent after a clash with a group of unidentified men, BBC reported.
The demonstrators said the banks had frozen their deposits because of supposed upgrades to their internal systems in April, but had not communicated with them since then.
Local media reports said police were present at the demonstration and had told protesters to leave.
Videos on social media showed a group of unidentified men -- believed to be security personnel but dressed in plain clothes -- shoving the protesters and throwing water bottles at them, BBC reported.
One protester, who had travelled to Henan for the demonstration, told BBC about the protestors being attacked.
"A group of people without police uniforms (on) rushed towards us. They hit us hard, especially (the) men," said the protester, who wanted to be identified only as Ms. Wang.
On Sunday, local police said that they had arrested "a number of suspects" linked to the case and were making progress in their investigation into the banks, without mentioning the protests.
The police said the suspects were believed to have controlled a number of banks in the province through a parent company.