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15 members of karaoke crime gang detained

ALL 15 members of a Pudong New Area-based criminal gang that intimidated foreigners into handing over cash after luring them into a karaoke honey trap have been detained, police said.

Officers were alerted to the group’s activities by one of its victims, an Egyptian who said he was approached by a man on April 15 while taking a nighttime stroll outside his hotel.

The victim said he chatted to the stranger for a while before agreeing to go with him to a karaoke club where he was told he could enjoy the company of beautiful hostesses.

After an unspecified amount of time at the club, the victim said he was approached by several large men who told him he owed 29,000 yuan (US$4,600). If he refused to pay he would be unable to leave, they said.

When the victim said he was able to pay US$1,800 — all of the money he had on him at the time — the men bundled him into a car and told him they would take him back to his hotel to get more.

While en route, however, the car stopped at a red light and the victim seized his change to escape. He jumped from the vehicle and ran to a nearby police car.

Based on his information, police were able to track down the gang and on June 13 took its 15 members in for questioning.

Police said the suspects confessed to seven similar crimes, which netted them more than 200,000 yuan.

Investigations are ongoing.

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