China’s dancing aunties just can’t seem to waltz their way out of the news–or out of trouble. One particularly militant and chaotic gang of crones in the Chinese city of Shangqiu in Henan province reportedly assaulted and shamed people who couldn’t pay their debts on time.
The offending old ladies caused all manner of merciless mayhem, all to get their debtors to pay, either financially or psychologically. Their aggressive tactics included shouting at and insulting people–often with the aid of loud speakers. In the most dramatic incidents, the women would strip or rip the clothing of their female victims naked or tear at their own clothing before accusing male targets of sexual assault.
Initially, the aunties had congregated peacefully, content to spend their time dancing in public roads and places. However, four years ago, they were hired en masse by a property developer. Evidently their gumption and can-do attitude from their dancing days made them the perfect candidates for dubious debt collection.
For just the equivalent $30 a day plus meals, they laid down the law, shaking down folks for money, and even intimidating homeowners into abandoning their properties so construction could occur. For four years, they struck fear and terror in the hearts of the city’s citizens.
Gao Yun, a blind woman, and one of the primary commanders of the matronly mafia told The Beijing News that the whole thing was just “something fun to do” as well as a means to pass the time. She also claimed that they never resorted to violence and that it was only “a war of words.”
Unfortunately, such defenses were not enough to shield the women from the consequences of their brutal, actions. 14 of them were charged and convicted with “organizing, leading and participating in gangster-like organizations and for their provocative and disturbing behavior,” receiving jail sentences of 11 years.
Something tells me they won’t be able to dance their way out of this one.