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September 11, 2012

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Bar shut after women lure men to buy fake, overpriced drinks

SHANGHAI police said yesterday that they busted a ring that conned customers in a bar in downtown Changning District. Police said 32 suspects have been caught.

The suspects, half of them women, lured customers via online chat rooms and presented them with fake high-priced liquor and other drinks at the bar, said police. The ring took in about 200,000 yuan (US$31,552).

"Just in one night a customer can spend more than 10,000 yuan there," said a police officer surnamed Shen.

The bar, M&G, located on Changning's Shuicheng Road, has been closed for further investigation, said police.

Most of the victims were businessmen. So far, police have not received reports that expats or foreign customers were cheated in the case.

The police were alerted in June.

"A single champagne cost me 1,000 yuan," said one victim, who declined to be named. "And it tasted bad."

Officials also cautioned about the tea scam, in which consumers are conned into buying overpriced teas and wines. Scammers usually persuade foreign visitors to take part in an expensive, so-called "tea ceremony," said police. Several teahouses in the city have been shut down for running such scams.


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