Chines authorities have launched an investigation into the fundraising practises of a firm behind a much-hyped futuristic bus that was supposed to glide over traffic jams however never got off the ground.
Film of a prototype of the traffic straddling vehicle driving down a short track in northern Hebei province while two cars drove underneath attracted global attention in August a year ago.
However, many doubted the project’s feasibility and Chinese media questioned its sources of financing.
Beijing police on Sunday said the project’s investor, the online lending firm Huaying Kailai, was being investigated in connection with illegal fundraising.
The police statement said 32 individuals, including a man surnamed Bai, have been arrested.
Documents with the Beijing government demonstrate that Huaying’s founder, surnamed Bai, owns 90 percent of the organization manufacturing the straddling transport, TEB Tech.
The police said it was trying to “recover the funds required in this case and protect investors’ legal rights and interests”.
But police did not give additionally details about the allegations.
The electric vehicle, first proposed in 2010, required at least two lanes to operate and an extra lane to allow traffic to go, as indicated by TEB.
The bus was designed to carry up to 1,400 travelers at a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles for each hour), TEB has said – although recordings just demonstrated it moving slowly.
Chinese media say the project is being shelved.