Comparisons have been drawn between the mafia and the city’s law enforcers in Shenzhen, and on this occasion it may not be so far fetched.
Chuangye Road and Nanyou Road in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District are among the most affluent areas in the city, at least in terms of appearance. The vicinity has its share of expats because there are at least two major language training centers, Web and Meten; Shekou Walmart; and the thriving Coastal City. But the area may not be as safe as locals had once thought, local media have reported.
For over a year, business owners have been threatened by a gang led by a criminal surnamed Zhang, who have been demanding protection fees after being authorized to do the work of a Chengguan, or Urban Administrator. It is quite common for Chengguan to outsource work to members of the public, but these members are only authorized to patrol streets and report criminal behaviour to higher authorities.
After Zhang was arrested in early June, it was discovered that one of the assistant urban administrators working under him was Gong Bo.
Gong was stabbed to death by a barbecue vendor in 2011 after he tried to forcibly shut down the man’s business. The barbecue vendor was given life in jail and told to pay 680,000 RMB in compensation.
After arrests of Zhang’s gang were made at businesses such as nightclubs, restaurants and internet bars. It was discovered that they had had no training and were acting far above their station as Assistant Chengguan.
Zhang and his gang face a total of 24 charges. His right hand man, also surnamed Zhang was interviewed by the Daily Sunshine but was distinctly uncooperative, insisting that he had been arrested for nothing other than getting into a fight caused by a misunderstanding.
A shop owner in the Cote D’azur residential complex expressed relief that the men had been arrested, claiming to have been intimidated and stolen from by the gang.