Nearly 70,000 people who worked for a direct sales firm in Beijing are still waiting for their money back a month after the Government banned such businesses and ordered them to repay their sales staff. The sellers worked for the Meimiya Cashmere Company which was set up in September last year and, within three months, had recruited staff from across the country to become the largest direct marketing firm in the capital. Each person made an initial payment of 1,980 yuan (HK$1,840) and was encouraged to recruit others. They included retired people, laid-off and unemployed workers and farmers, some of whom sold all their livestock to join. The Government outlawed direct marketing on April 21, saying it caused social chaos and widespread fraud. It ordered direct sales firms to take back goods they had sold and repay the buyers. On May 15, more than 1,000 angry staff crowded into Meimiya's head office in Beijing at a meeting arranged by the police and legal authorities to claim repayment of money owed by the company, Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday. One man said he represented 5,700 company sales people in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang province. 'At least three of them have been killed by those they recruited and I do not dare go home because I am being pursued by people who want their money. Because of these direct sales, my son has divorced his wife and my daughter has lost her boyfriend,' he said. None of the firm's people at the meeting was able to refund the staff, who suspect the firm's managers of running off with their money. Following the meeting, more people went to the company's office from outside Beijing demanding their money back, the paper said. Officials at the local office of the Industrial and Commercial Bureau declined to comment on the case, saying the April 21 government directive was clear. The official press has said the ban on direct sales has been implemented successfully. Up to the end of April, 100,000 people in Hunan province were said to have been reimbursed by more than 30 million yuan. At least 10 people died and dozens were injured in disturbances when thousands tried to return goods they had bought.