Chinese debt collectors jailed for cyberbullying under ‘soft violence’ laws

Threatening and insulting WeChat messages and worse earn time inside

13 Reg comments Got Tips?

A Beijing court has jailed eight debt collectors for cyber-bullying people who owed them money.

The facts of the case are nasty: debtors were bombarded with text messages, robo-calls, sending threatening videos on WeChat and use of “information bombing software”. Those messages included personal insults and other unsavoury content.

Making matters worse was that debt collection firms appear to have shared personal information to facilitate the harassment.

Courts found that the debt collectors have operated for at least five years, established 30 debt collection outfits and employed over 300 “salespeople” who would insult and intimidate debtors.

The case is also significant because it was the first brought under “soft violence” laws introduced last year. Those laws were intended to tackle gang activity, vandalism, anti-social acts [Including throwing faeces – Ed] and trying to spook people by playing funereal music.

Eight people were sentenced to between eleven months and four-and-a-half years inside, made to repay victims, and fined.

News of the verdict has been widely reported in Chinese State media, a sign that authorities are keen for news of a successful prosecution under soft violence laws to spread far and wide. ®

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