Chinese police have detained eight people including the editor of a well-known business newspaper’s website for blackmailing dozens of listed companies over coverage, state media reported Thursday.

Those held in the “huge” extortion case include the editor and deputy editor of the 21st Century Business Herald’s site and employees of two public relations firms, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The national business newspaper is part of the Nanfang Media Group, which is owned by the Guangdong provincial government, and is well respected among financial professionals.

Website staff colluded with others to demand payments for positive news from listed firms and prominent companies, while publishing “malicious” attacks on those who refused to cooperate, the report said.

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