'Aunties gang' in 4-year reign of terror

AFP
Members of a Chinese “aunties gang” of debt-collectors have been jailed over a reign of terror in which they menaced victims and even stripped naked to get them to cough up.
AFP

Members of a Chinese “aunties gang” of debt-collectors have been jailed over a reign of terror in which they menaced victims and even stripped naked to get them to cough up.

Fourteen received jail sentences of up to 11 years after being convicted of “organizing, leading and participating in gangster-like organizations and for their provocative and disturbing behavior,” The Beijing News reported.

About 30 women with an average age of 50 — some of whom had met while engaging in dancing in public squares — took part in the scheme in the city of Shangqiu in central Henan Province.

The sentences were handed down after a four-year spree in which the accused — hired by a property developer and firms that wanted debts paid — used strong-arm tactics to collect the money or forced people from their homes to make way for construction projects.

The sentences were handed down after a four-year spree in which the accused — hired by a property developer and firms that wanted debts paid — used strong-arm tactics to collect the money or forced people from their homes to make way for construction projects.

They would shout at or insult debtors into submission, and when that did not work they spat at them, the report said.

Some female victims had their clothes torn off if they resisted, while men said the aunties would rip off their own clothes to imply sexual assault.

One of the ringleaders, a blind woman named Gao Yun, said the scheme was a way to kill time and “something fun to do.” They never resorted to violence and it was only a “war of words,” she said, adding that the prime motivation was wages of about 200 yuan (US$30) a day plus meals.


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