China: Around The Nation

Gang of 15 Chinese children rob victims at knifepoint in Beijing’s Sanlitun bar district

Police on patrol catch high-school pupils, aged 13 to 17, who stole up to 1,000 yuan from some victims after threatening them with knives and electric batons

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 11:58am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 January, 2017, 11:58am

Chinese police arrested a gang of 15 children, aged 13 to 17, who routinely used knives and electric batons to rob people at night in Beijing’s famous Sanlitun bar district.

The gang became active last December and preyed on small passers-by they thought they could intimidate, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

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They would corner their victims and then threaten them with their knives and electric batons.

In some cases, the gang robbed victims of more than 1,000 yuan (HK$1,120) at a time.

They admitted spending the money mostly on food and drink at local bars and clubs, the report said.

The gang forced their victims to hand over their wallets, transfer funds electronically on the WeChat instant messaging platform and withdraw cash from nearby ATMs in exchange of their safety.

One victim, who was not carrying any money at the time he was cornered, was stabbed by the gang, but fortunately survived.

Beijing police, who caught the gang on December 9 while they were on patrol, discovered the youngest member was aged only 13, while the oldest was 17, the report said.

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The gang attended high school during the day and then committed crimes at night, between 9pm and 1am.

Police found that the gang members had divided up their roles, with some responsible for keeping watch, others in charge of beating up victims and making sure the money had been transferred safely.

Members also split up into different teams, who took it in turns to commit crimes during the night.

One member was said to have told police he became part of the crime gang because he was too embarrassed to ask his family for pocket money, the report said.

Sanlitun, in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, is a popular shopping and dining area with many popular bars and international stores.