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December 17, 2011

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18 salon staff jailed for coercion

EIGHTEEN beauty salon workers were jailed yesterday for intimidating almost 80 customers into buying overpriced skin-care products.

All those on trial at the Songjiang District People's Court were found guilty of conducting forced transactions and received sentences ranging from seven months to two years in prison.

The court said it was the biggest coercion case of its type in Shanghai, involving sums totaling more than 340,000 yuan (US$53,548).

The ringleaders, surnamed Wang, Hu and Yang, opened a beauty center in a basement of a supermarket in Songjiang District and recruited 15 employees in early 2010.

Staff were dispatched to the Ludu area and Miaoqian Street to hand out free gifts and offer free trials.

Once lured into the salon, staff would offer unsuspecting customers free applications of facial products.

But once the products were applied, beauticians would claim the chemicals were toxic and that the customer had to buy additional skin-care services as a remedy.

On some occasions, staff would apply a product to half of a customer's face - claiming this would show a before and after contrast.

But the product would irritate the skin and the customer would be pressurized into buying other lotions to alleviate this, the court said.

Customers were intimidated into buying overpriced products, the court heard.

Between September 2010 and May this year the salon pressurized 79 women in this way, the court heard.


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