BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese news agency says police have detained 16 people accused of blackmailing companies by threatening to spread phony news stories on the Internet.
The Xinhua News Agency on Sunday that said four groups set up websites that said falsely that they were run by the ruling Communist Party or government and threatened to post damaging information online.
The report said some of the damaging information about companies was true but others paid to suppress reports they knew were false for fear their reputations might be hurt.
According to Xinhua, police said the four groups were involved in more than 120 cases and collected a total of more than 3 million yuan ($500,000).
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)