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8 charged after debtors held

(Shanghai Daily)

11:26, September 24, 2011

Shanghai--Eight suspects have been arrested on charges that they illegally detained two debtors for more than 36 and 100 hours each and demanded 80,000 yuan (US$12,520) from the victims' families, Jinshan District prosecutors said yesterday.

One victim, surnamed Shen, was held for more than 100 hours by four suspects in a coffeehouse in Zhujing Town in January. Shen owed the suspects 40,000 yuan after he lost money he borrowed for gambling, according to prosecutors. Unable to pay the debts, he wrote an IOU note to the suspects and left.

On January 6, Shen was spotted in a cyber cafe by two of the suspects, surnamed Yang and Cai. They demanded that Shen pay. They seized and held Shen until he called his father to clear the debts. Shen was watched in the coffeehouse in the daytime and was moved to a bathhouse in Tinglin Town at night.

At first, Shen's father refused to pay the debts for his son. But the father was frightened when the suspects took Shen to his home and beat him in front of the family on the fifth day after Shen was detained.

One suspect, surnamed Xiao, also threatened to chop Shen's arms and legs off. The father then promised to pay the debt and Shen was finally released.

On January 19, the suspects used the same means and detained another victim, surnamed Gan, for over 36 hours in a bathhouse. Gan managed to contact his father through text messages, asking him to call police.

He was rescued on January 21 when the suspect went to Gan's home to collect the ransom. Police captured three other suspects in a bath club.

On April 18, police captured another three suspects involved in the two cases. The last was caught in Guangzhou in south China on May 2.

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