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May 31, 2010

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Boy sentenced over extortion scams

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy was sent to a juvenile detention center for 18 months after imitating horror fiction stories to extort money.

The boy identified as Gang tried on nine occasions to extort a total of 270,000 yuan (US$39,531) with schemes that spread fear in the area where he lived in Putuo District.

Putuo District People's Court said Gang, a native of Hubei Province, didn't earn any money from the schemes although he did cause a 20,000 yuan loss to one BMW owner after scratching the car.

Gang arrived in the city with his father last year and they both looked for work. Gang only did some temporary jobs and became addicted to Internet games. After spending all the pocket money his father gave him, Gang planned to earn some money through extortion schemes he had read in horror stories, the court said.

On March 6, he saw a BMW parked at a nearby residential community. He used a piece of iron to scratch the Chinese character for "kill" on the car. He then left a note threatening to kill the owner's family unless 200,000 yuan was offered.

Police soon caught Gang.

The court gave Gang a lenient sentence because he is still a minor and pleaded guilty, judges said.


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