A gang of masked men dragged an elderly couple from their bed in the middle of the night and demolished their home in China’s Shandong province, state news agency Xinhua reported.
CCTV footage showed the couple being taken from their house in Pingyi county at around 2:00am.
Their house, which was over half a century old, was torn down by a bulldozer shortly thereafter.
According to the report, the couple was forced into a car and dropped off at a shopping mall some eight kilometres from their home. The woman said one of the intruders also cut her face with a knife.
A security guard at the mall, surnamed Zhang, told The Beijing Times that he discovered the couple at around 3:00am during routine patrols. He said it was cold that day, and the couple were wearing only a layer of thin clothes when he found them.
Police said that the real estate company responsible, Shandong Tiantai Real Co. Limited, had been attempting to remove 40 households from the area since 2007. Area man Sun Lingwei was arrested as the main suspect behind the forced removal, along with six others.
One netizen commented: “In the world of powerful and rich people, we the people are lambs waiting to be caught. Poor and sad.”
In September, villagers in Shandong fired homemade mortars at demolition team excavators advancing on their homes, Apple Daily reported.