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November 24, 2011

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Real estate gang fight nets jail time for 5

FIVE real estate brokers have been sentenced to six to seven months behind bars for beating their rivals in gang fights and damaging their store, the Huangpu District People's Court said yesterday.

Real estate business researchers told Shanghai Daily that as the business stalls in the city, a "nuclear winter" has hit real estate brokers head-on, crushing their business and frequently leading to bankruptcies or gang fights over small deals between rivals.

In this case, a 27-year-old man surnamed Hu from Anhui Province, who owned a small real estate company in the city, led four of his employees to two of the chain stores of their rival company on June 30, damaging the decorations and beating staff workers.

Hu said the act was to avenge a house-renting deal that he believed the next-door company won unfairly. The fight caused slight injuries to three of the chain-store workers and cost the two stores economic losses of 9,000 yuan, the court said.

The case is hardly unique. Desperate gangs of real estate brokers have been fighting rivals in the streets over customers, as tough housing policies to dampen the property market have taken hold. In March, Changning District prosecutors handled two cases where five brokers from several real estate companies were detained for gang fights for customers in downtown areas.

And now as housing prices start to fall, many brokers, especially those offering rentals or sales of second-hand apartments, are running into problems. They are losing customers as well as the supply of apartments for sale or rent, said researchers.


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