Trial told how woman was ensnared in 5m yuan debt trap

The 24 accused enticed their victim with a "love trap" and then tried to cheat her out of a property, Minhang District prosecutors said.

Twenty-four people accused of ensnaring a woman in a debt trap, and then trying to cheat her out of a property by illegally restraining her, went on trial at Minhang People’s Court yesterday. 

It all began with a love trap when one of the suspects, Shan Mingliang, approached the alleged victim, surnamed Lu, in April 2016 after finding out she had two apartment units in Shanghai, according to Minhang District prosecutors.

Shan quickly won her heart and persuaded her to borrow 100,000 yuan (US$15,125) for him as he lacked funds, prosecutors said.

Lu was then confined to her home and guarded by Shan’s friends. They introduced her to a loan shark, Yu Qi.

Lu was taken to a bank on April 20, 2016, for Yu to issue a 250,000 yuan loan on her behalf. She was then forced to write down a 250,000-yuan IOU statement, but she wasn’t given the loan money, prosecutors said.

Consequently, they added, she couldn’t repay the debt, prosecutors said, adding the suspects repeated the process the following month to leave her owing a total of 500,000 yuan debt.

Two more loan sharks were brought into play and Lu finally ended up owing 5 million yuan, the court heard. As the suspects had obtained so-called video evidence, they brought her before a court, demanding payment. In July 2016, that court seized one of her apartments in Jiading District.

However, police were onto the gang and all the suspects were rounded up by last May.

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