TV reporter exposes mafia-style practices in farmers market
After Shanghai TV reported on Monday that vendors at the largest local farm produce wholesale market were regularly threatened and intimidated by criminal gangs, police on Tuesday announced that they had begun investigating the allegations in May.
Also in May, an Shanghai TV reporter went undercover and started selling ice cubes at the central wholesale farm produce market in Beicai, Pudong New Area.
The reporter claims that no one bought his ice even though he offered very attractive prices. He was told by other traders that the entire produce market was controlled by a person from Shou County, Anhui Province, and no one dared to confront him.
The reporter was also charged additional “parking fees,” told that his tires would be slashed if he refused to pay and was followed by a van soon after he started business there.
Market mangers told the reporter that people often went to their office and demanded to be allowed to monopolize business there. Gao Wei, the chairman of the board has been stalked and threatened.
Gao told Shanghai TV that some traders had left the market in the face of the intimidation and the market was losing customers. The company has filed several complaints but to no avail.
Last week, Shanghai government decided to step up the war against gangs. Since January, Shanghai police have caught 600 suspects in 174 cases involving over 90 gangs and sealed up, frozen or seized property worth about 50 million.