RESIDENTS who refused to make way for a massive new property development were awakened in the early hours to find an estimated 10,000 scorpions crawling over the walls of their homes.
The houses were blocking a massive neighbourhood redevelopment in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen – and the scorpion plague is being blamed on the developers.
The residents of Huawei alley in the suburb of Daxing claim it is a blatant attempt to scare them them out of their homes.
One, who did not wish to be named in case reprisals, said: “I woke up at 2 o'clock in the morning and saw a man in his twenties pouring something from a wooden bucket onto the doorsteps and windowsills of homes that were marked for eviction.
“I thought it was suspicious, so I got a torch and saw scorpions crawling all over the place.”
In just the first hour after the horrific discovery more than 22lbs (10kg) of scorpions were collected.
Huawei alley, consists of around 100 homes, and had been sold by the local government to Shenzhen Rosa, a property developer, which was in the process of negotiating a compensation package for the homeowners it wished to vacate their properties.
The negotiations do not appear to have gone smoothly, however, and the developer had already cut the water and electricity to the homes in order to force out their occupants.
All land in China is owned by the government, and land sales are a vital part of local government revenues.
However, forced evictions are one of the biggest sources of discontent, especially since developers do not, by law, need to agree compensation with homeowners before they start building work.
Liu Hongbo, a columnist with the Liberation Daily newspaper, said the scorpions had roamed free for two days. He added: “None of the homes infested by scorpions had signed compensation deals with the developer.”
However a spokesman for Shenzhen Rosa denied all involvement, saying the act was 'too cruel' and that it damaged the value of the property.
He told the Liberation Daily that a breakthrough had already been achieved through negotiation and there was no need to resort to underhand tactics.