Suspects nabbed in China "AIDS demolition team" scandal

Updated: 2014-12-26 08:14


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Suspects nabbed in China
Red graffiti reading "AIDS demolition team" on the walls of buildings in a residential community in Nanyang of Central China's Henan province. [Photo/shenghuoxinbao]

ZHENGZHOU - Police in a central Chinese city have arrested major suspects in connection with an "AIDS demolition team", whose members reportedly claim to be AIDS patients and threaten to infect people who refuse to move out of their houses.

Police are still investigating the case, said a publicity official in Nanyang City, Henan Province late Thursday.

A photo of red graffiti that said "AIDS demolition team" surfaced on Chinese social media, triggering public outcry. The graffiti reportedly appeared in a community slated for demolition under a government plan.

The government of Nanyang City confirmed the existence of the team, but said it was not hired by the local government.

Residents say they have been harassed by the gang since early December. Allegedly, one member showed the residents documentation of his AIDS diagnosis, and the gang has used threats of infection and other tricks to drive them out.

Some residents have left out of fear, one local said.

An official with the Nanyang government said Wednesday a company in charge of the community's demolition has been suspended pending investigation.

It is not yet known whether the team include genuine AIDS patients or just used the disease as a threat. The province of Henan was once known for its large population of HIV carriers, many of whom were villagers infected through illegal blood sales.