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March 10, 2012

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3 detained for creating 'accidents,' extorting drivers

SHANGHAI police said they had detained three suspects for extorting drivers by intentionally throwing themselves against cars while riding bicycles, then demanding compensation.

Although the suspects confessed, it was unclear how many drivers were ripped off in the past months. Police said the suspects regularly extorted drivers and charged 50 yuan (US$7.90) to 300 yuan per "accident."

The case was first tipped by a netizen identified as Ding Yina on

"Three to four people were ripping off drivers every morning near the intersection of Tianlin Road and Lianhua Road. They rode bicycles approaching cars and scratched them and fell when the latter were driving into the bicycle lane," Ding said. "They took advantage of the drivers who dared not call the police."

The latest extortion happened at 9:18am on Thursday at Tianlin and Lianhua roads, police found through surveillance cameras.

A sedan was passing a car by using part of the bike lane and was nicked by a black bicycle. The footage showed the bicyclist suddenly turned into the sedan to force the minor collision, police said. The driver of the sedan exited the car, talked to the suspect and gave him something before the two left, the footage showed.

Four minutes later, a bicycle rider kept looking back and hit a sedan's back wheel and fell to the ground when it was about to surpass the bicycle. However, the driver ignored the suspect, leaving him waiting at the scene for another "prey."

Three suspects were caught in a house in the suburban Qingpu District yesterday.


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