A “granny gang” of ageing Chinese women who terrorised people into paying debts by cursing, spitting and even stripping off and grabbing their victim’s genitals, have been imprisoned for up to 11 years, reports say.
The elderly “enforcers” – who were aged up to 70 – were enlisted from outdoor ballroom dancing groups which met in public squares in Shangqiu, in the central Henan province, according to the youth.cn website, which is run by the Communist Youth League.
More than 30 gang members used strong-arm tactics to retrieve debts for clients and also to harass people into moving out of their homes to make way for property developers, report said.
Among the tactics used was intimidating people for days with megaphones before confronting them directly.
A man named Zhao, who was being intimidated into leaving his property, told the Beijing News that he saw eight of the women spitting at a neighbour.
They would tear off the clothes of female victims and strip off their own clothes before confronting the men, apparently to suggest that they had been sexually assaulted, Mr Zhao said.
Another victim said ten of the women spent six days outside his house intimidating his family.
The victim, who was named as Zhang, said one of the women grabbed his genitals, causing an injury which cost him 1,000 yuan (£110) in medical bills.
Other reports said the women carried out beatings and pushed around their victims.
One of the gang members told the Beijing News: “I had nothing to do, so I thought I would try this as it is fun.
“Also, a key point is that we were given free meals,” she added.
The women were paid 200 yuan a day by a man who worked for loan companies and property developers. They would receive more cash if they were injured or detained by police, the reports said.
The man was jailed for 11 years, while 14 members of the ‘granny gang’ were given prison sentences ranging from 2 to 11 years last month after they were found guilty of 29 incidents over the past four years.