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September 23, 2011

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11 charged in extortion

FENGXIAN District prosecutors yesterday approved the arrest of a gang of 11 people who allegedly pretended to work as construction workers and extorted tens of thousands of yuan from three companies after they refused to hire them.

The 11 suspects, aged 20 to 50, are from Henan Province. The leader of the gang, surnamed Le, was a construction worker after he came to Shanghai in 2009. Le, 44, suggested his fellow villagers conduct extortion with him at a construction site.

On July 19, Le called the foreman of a kindergarten construction project to see if more workers were needed. The foreman, surnamed Jin, told Le he wanted to hire two carpenters. Le took two workers to the site on July 21.

Two days later, Le called Jin again, and was told Jin needed two more workers.

However, Jin was shocked to see Le come to his site with 20 workers on July 25. Jin refused to hire them all and quarreled with Le. The conflicts escalated when Le threatened Jin and his boss, demanding compensation for the other 18 "workers." Under the gang's threat, Jin's boss paid 28,000 yuan (US$4,382) to Le to ease the conflicts.

Following that success, the gang used the same means to extort two more construction companies for a total of 89,000 yuan, prosecutors said.


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