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August 10, 2011

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Salon scam the unkindest cut

HUNDREDS of customers joined staff outside a closed hair salon in Minhang District yesterday, claiming the owner had run off with their cash.

Unpaid salon workers and customers said the owner, surnamed Wang, made off with as much as 1 million yuan (US$155,495), after suddenly closing the business on Monday.

Police are guarding Xinchen Salon on Luoxiu Road round the clock to prevent angry customers and workers from breaking in and stealing its equipment and fittings.

Among those gathered yesterday, a regular customer, surnamed Luo, was angry as she believed the salon tried to cheat more money out of customers just before it closed.

Luo said last Saturday a hair stylist suggested she paid money into her membership card - luring her with a promotion promising 1,500 yuan in the card if she paid 1,000 yuan.

"The hairdresser even said he could lend me the money if I didn't have enough cash on me," said Luo.

"I was a little wary but I trusted him because I've known him for about a year."

Luo was just one of more than 100 customers who prepaid sums ranging from 1,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan into their membership cards, enticed by promotional offers.

They now appear to have been left out of pocket when the salon closed without warning.

Salon staff also joined the protest. Some complained that the owner had not paid them for three months, while others claimed they had invested sums of between 10,000 yuan to 90,000 yuan in the business.

A staff member, who claimed to be a friend of the salon owner, said Wang had two salons in the district and both closed suddenly on Monday.

The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said Wang lived an extravagant life and loved gambling. He believed that Wang had lost the salons through gambling.

Local industry and commerce authorities are investigating the case.


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