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Gang boss' loans land him in prison

A GANG boss who lent money at high interest rates and then used kidnapping and extortion to force debtors to pay it back has been jailed for 15 years, Jiading District People's Court said yesterday.

Of Xu Hongbiao's gang, 16 were jailed for periods of up to two and a half years while two were exempted from criminal punishment.

Xu was found guilty of kidnapping, extortion and illegal detention.

The court heard that the gang had issued illegal loans from the end of 2005 to early 2008. At least 10 victims were forced to pay back money after being detained, beaten or threatened.

In one case, local man Cheng Bing borrowed 30,000 yuan (US$4,400) from Xu at the end of 2006 after an introduction from a friend surnamed Niu. Cheng soon spent the money and disappeared. Niu was forced to pay 40,000 yuan after the gang threatened his family members, the court heard.

Then the gang caught up with Cheng but, unable to pay back the money, Cheng conspired with Xu to cheat his friend, Wang Tianxi.

Cheng made an appointment to meet Wang in a cafe. When Wang got there he saw Cheng apparently being beaten by three men demanding money. Cheng wrote an IOU for 20,000 yuan, the court heard, and Wang agreed to sign as a guarantor.

Later, Xu and Cheng changed the amount to 120,000 yuan.

A gang member called Wang a few days later, asking him to pay the money, saying Cheng had disappeared. But Wang went to the police.

In other cases, Xu ordered his gang to detain debtors and force their relatives to pay money by threatening to kill them, the court said.


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