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May 17, 2019

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Police take hard line on ‘soft violence’

Shanghai police are cracking down on crime gangs which use so-called “soft violence.” Yesterday, police said 24 people will be prosecuted for loan sharking.

The accused, who ran an investment company called Qianhao, allegedly used soft violence to coerce debtors to pay,  such as blocking door keyholes.

A debtor, a man surnamed Du, borrowed 300,000 yuan (US$44,000) from the gang, but was made to sign an IOU note of 600,000 yuan. He was threatened with soft violence when he didn’t pay.

Other soft violence includes illegal detention, home invasion, blackmail and false lawsuits.

Zhang Chen, head of the organized crime unit of Shanghai Criminal Police, said these tactics had increased over the past decade after police focused on criminals using weapons such as knives to extort money from debtors.

The Supreme People’s Court and Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice issued a statement on soft violence last month, defining it as a feature of mafia-style organizations.

Shanghai police said yesterday that since 2018 they have taken down 179 organized crime groups.


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