A granny gang of 14 has been sentenced to between 2 and 11 years in prison by a Chinese court for demanding loan repayments using “provocative and disturbing behavior”.
The Beijing News reports the gang in Suixian, Shangqiu, shouted at, insulted and spat on debtors in order to collect money for a range of disputes, from medical expenses to construction projects.
One man described the gang – which numbered up to 30 “with an average age of 50” – as “hooligans” and said one crowd stripped and chased him. He claimed they grabbed and injured his genitals, which cost him 1000 yuan ($110) in medical costs.
Another victim said 10 grannies camped outside his home for six days, “intimidating his family”.
The Beijing News spoke to one member, who denied there was ever any physical violence, saying she joined because she “had nothing to do” and it was just “a lot of fun”.
The youth.cn website reported that the grannies were recruited from outdoor ballroom dancing groups which met in public squares in Shangqiu. Some were aged 70.
The gang members could earn up to 200 yuan ($38) per day, plus meals.
The convicted 14, sentenced for “organising, leading and participating in gangster-like organisations”, will appeal the decision.
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