Chinese woman arrested for extorting restaurants with negative reviews

By Hoang Phong   January 13, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Chinese woman arrested for extorting restaurants with negative reviews
Food is prepared at a restaurant in Beijing, China, Jan. 31, 2022. Photo by Reuters
Chinese police have detained a woman for allegedly lodging fraudulent food safety complaints to extort 20,000 yuan (US$2,805) from Xi’an City restaurants over a six-month period.

The woman, identified only as Deng, ordered food from eateries in 18 provinces and cities across China for over half a year, police said earlier this week, as reported by Beijing Radio & Television.

However, she continuously complained to restaurants about finding foreign objects in her food and threatened to leave negative reviews or make complaints to health authorities if she did not receive compensation.

Initial investigations have revealed that Deng lodged fraudulent complaints over food safety more than 200 times, and received a total of 20,000 yuan in "compensation," according to Chinese state-owned online magazine Sixth Tone.

Deng could be found guilty of fraud and face a prison term of three years.

Like in many other Asian countries, restaurants in China restaurants are quite sensitive to bad reviews on online platforms or social media due to fears of losing customers amid fierce competition.

Last November, Beijing police arrested 13 people for extorting restaurants and food delivery platforms using similar methods.

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