Hostage Taking Is China – s Small-Claims Court – Foreign Policy, small claims court washington.#Small

Hostage Taking Is China s Small-Claims Court

Small claims court washington

When dozens of men stormed the Shanghai branch of USGFX, an Australian foreign currency trading firm, in July, the employees were terrified. Held hostage as assailants sealed the exits, the 20 employees — all Chinese — had their phones seized and only got food and water after they begged for sustenance. While 17 of the staff were freed within 24 hours, the remaining three were held for five days.

But despite the hostage drama, there were no SWAT vans at the premises, nor did local media show any interest. The company tried in vain to get the police involved, with initial reports suggesting that up until the day the situation was resolved, the police presence was limited to a visit by a few — possibly just one — officers from the local economic crimes unit.

In China, where it’s utterly unremarkable for one side to take hostages when financial disputes crop up, the story was no more interesting than a civil lawsuit. Given how reticent the authorities are to intervene, taking hostages is frequently seen as a better route than appealing to the courts. In fact, the courts are sympathetic to certain types of hostage taking: When debt is involved, the law considers it a lesser offense than taking hostages for ransom, and it is classed as “unlawful detention” instead. In practice, police often don’t even consider it to be an offense at all.

In 2010, one government hospital even refused to hand over a newborn baby to his parents so they would pay up for the birth costs. The baby was kept in the hospital for more than three months.

“Virtually all of the time, the police studiously seek to avoid getting involved,” said Dan Harris, a high-profile lawyer who specializes in Chinese law. “They see their job as maintaining social harmony.”

“The most common reason, by far, for someone to get taken hostage is when their company allegedly owes money to a Chinese company. They are typically resolved by the foreign company paying every dollar allegedly owed,” he said. “I am not aware of any instance in which there has been a compromise. Sometimes, though, when a company pays enough, we can line up a team and free the hostage.”

It makes a lot of sense for Chinese police to avoid getting involved in financial disputes, even when hostages are taken. One side of the dispute might be connected with a local government office or powerful business. Even if they’re not particularly powerful, they could launch protests, and the police might be blamed. It’s also fairly cheap and easy for one side to hire thugs, who may be better prepared for a fight than the police.

But the police are also predisposed to see it as none of their business. Public security is broken into two areas: minshi and xingshi. Translated loosely, they can be considered civil and criminal issues, respectively. When it’s a financial dispute, rather than a hostage taken for ransom, police generally consider it more of a minshi issue and thus more in need of mediation than law enforcement, if it requires any police input at all. Debt kidnappings aren’t the only situation this applies to: Even in fights with quite serious injuries, the police often attempt to negotiate a payoff to the injured party instead of bringing charges.

The theme of the wise official mediating among disputants has long been a staple of Chinese literature. In the modern context, the strangeness of the police’s dual role as social mediators and law enforcers has been noted by Fordham University professor Carl Minzner. Minzner attributes it to the authoritarian system’s top-down approach to dealing with tensions between citizens and the state and to the Chinese Communist Party’s refusal to allow the development of independent legal bodies that could deal with such disputes.

Harris’s China Law Blog repeatedly stresses the risks of being taken hostage in China over debts. In many cases, the best move for foreigners facing such circumstances is simply to get out of the country before the thugs reach you.

Often, precious little can be done to protect alleged debtors from thugs, and the courts and the police are of little help. This helplessness was on full display when two Indian businessmen were taken hostage for 20 days in the Chinese trading hub of Yiwu in 2012. The case came to a head when a court ordered that the two businessmen — who had been taken to court by the angry locals who had seized them — be released. The enraged mob proceeded to ignore the ruling. Authorities later managed to spirit the two men to Shanghai while the case was processed.

The case, of course, stirred up alarm in India — not least because an Indian diplomat sent to try to resolve the situation became caught in a violent fracas and was subsequently hospitalized. But Chinese authorities were, and still are, ill-equipped to understand the foreign perspective on these cases. Nationalistic Chinese tabloid the Global Times was oblivious to the root cause of Indians’ distress and was instead content to chalk it up to nationalism. The editors couldn’t grasp that most countries don’t see kidnapping as a legitimate response to debt.

As for the people who decide to take hostages, there are a pretty clear set of incentives — sometimes it works. In 2015, when investors around the country were left high and dry by Fanya Metal Exchange — a fraudulent government-backed trading scheme that was even advertised by staff of top banks — they formed a mob and grabbed the CEO, Shan Jiuliang, themselves, delivering him to police custody. In that instance, he was not arrested, but investor representatives managed to extract promises from him regarding their investments.

There are, of course, limits to taking hostages without a police backlash. If those taking the hostages are wielding weapons or take innocent bystanders captive, they are far more likely to draw attention from the police. In 2015, a desperate Gansu man leapt in a car in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, and took the driver hostage with a knife and commanded the driver to take him to the police. He was angry because his boss owed him money, but lacking any clues as to the whereabouts of said boss, he grabbed a random driver instead. He ordered the driver to call the police but ended up arrested himself and spent six months in prison.

The lack of police involvement in these debt-hostage situations, coupled with the economic downturn, makes China a ripe environment for loan sharks. One case that occupied headlines this year involved a debt collector who hired a gang of thugs to terrorize a 23-year-old man named Yu Huan and his mother to get a debt repaid. The police did not intervene, and Yu ended up grabbing a knife and killing one of the attackers after they pushed his mother’s head into the toilet.

Yu was initially sentenced to a life sentence, though this was reduced to just five years after a public outcry. The Southern Weekly newspaper suggested at the time that the death had only occurred after police had left the scene of the scuffle, leaving Yu desperate. Yu’s attorney indicated during the proceedings that they were considering suing the police for dereliction of duty.

This, it would seem, was finally enough to spur police action.

The authorities examined the case and exonerated all the police involved, saying they had only left to call for backup.

Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

David Dawson is a journalist and editor in Beijing.

Justice Court – Town of Washington, small claims court washington.#Small #claims #court #washington

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Elizabeth K. Shequine – Town Justice

Jeff Feigelson – Town Justice

Louis Spagnola III Deputy Constable

  • Court Clerk Hours Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM 12:00 Noon
  • Court is held every Tuesday, excluding the 1st Tuesday of the month, beginning at 5:00 PM.
  • Special Prosecutor 2nd Tuesday
  • District Attorney Public Defender 4th Tuesday
  • Email: [email protected]
  • The Court handles all cases within the Town of Washington and the Village of Millbrook.
  • Acceptable Payments: Cash, Money Order or Credit Card (additional fee applies)
  • The Court Clerk may answer questions about court procedures but cannot give legal advice.
  • The court is created under, and governed by the Unified Justice Court Act.

The Town of Washington Court hears formal civil cases when either the Plaintiff or the Defendant resides in, is employed in or has a place of business within the Town.

Defendants are not guaranteed legal representation in civil court as they are in criminal court but may retain legal representation. People with low income may wish to contact Legal Services of the Hudson Valley which is funded, in part, by the US Department of Health and Human Service, the New York State Office for the Aging, and Dutchess County.


Cases charging the commission of a traffic infraction within the town limits are filed in the Town of Washington Justice Court. Information regarding how to proceed with a traffic ticket may be found on the back of the ticket issued to the motorist. If the motorist responds by pleading not guilty, the Court Clerk will schedule a trial. The Court conducts non-jury or bench trials for violations, offenses and vehicle and traffic cases. If the motorist pleads guilty by mail, a fine letter will be issued that instructs the defendant on procedure and amount of payment.

The Court hears small claims cases up to a maximum amount of $3000 when the Defendant resides in, is employed in, or has a place of business within the Town. Individuals and sole proprietors of businesses may bring a suit against an individual, corporation, partnership, association or assignee in Small Claims Court by filing a claim with the Court. There is a filing fee of $10 for claims up to $1000 and $15 for claims up to $3000. You may not file a claim in Small Claims Court for over $3000. Small Claims Court is intended to provide a simple, informal and inexpensive procedure for prompt determination of small claims.

The Court hears Summary Proceedings/Evictions when the property and the Respondent are located within the Town. These proceedings include non payment of rent or holdover evictions. Plaintiffs may claim the full amount in dispute as there is no limit on the amount of the claim for which the Court has civil jurisdiction in such cases. The Court hears both residential and commercial landlord/tenant cases.

The Town of Washington Court hears criminal cases originating within the Town and has full jurisdiction for non-felony cases (misdemeanors and violations) to accept guilty pleas or hold trials. On felony charges, the court conducts the arraignment and preliminary inquiry and may set bail or hold without bail. If the charges are not reduced to misdemeanors, the Town Court transfers them to Dutchess County Court for final disposition. The Town Court may not accept pleas in felony cases.

Defendants have the right to legal counsel and to choose a jury trial or non-jury trial for misdemeanor cases. The Dutchess County Public Defender s Office provides legal services to criminal defendants who have been determined to be indigent.

A Town Justice may perform civil marriage ceremonies. To schedule a marriage ceremony, contact the Justice Court Clerk at 677-6366.

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There are about 100 federal and provincial statutes we have knowledge of. In addition there are dozens of common law and equitable principles as well as the Small Claims Court Rules and related procedures.

Court of federal claims2. Court staff cannot give you legal advice.

Court staff can only provide limited assistance with court forms and procedures. And as indicated in the previous point there is far more to litigation than filling out a form.

Court of federal claims3. It s not like the reality court-shows seen on television.

Many people think they can just show up and “tell their story. This is not the case. Each party is responsible to present their evidence, make appropriate legal submissions and know the law as it applies to their case.

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    How to File Small Claims Court California, Small Claims Filing, small claims court process.#Small #claims

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    Welcome to

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    We’re so glad you found us. now processes Small Claims cases in the Western United States . We started out Filing and Serving Small Claims cases in California in 1993. The success has now brought us into Washington , Oregon , Nevada , Arizona , Texas , Washington and New York .

    If you’ve found this site, there is somebody (or company) who owes you money. If you entrust us with your claim, we will aggressively, accurately and assertively process your case!

    The motto of has always been:

    We Prepare, File, Serve, File Proof of Services on your case. By the time we are finished, you are ready to go to court.

    Simply fill-out our online questionnaire, sit back and let us do the work.

    Your job: Go to court, win your case, and get back what is rightfully yours!

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    Your only responsibility in the small claims process is to

    show up at the hearing and win your case.

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    Starting a Case

    Anyone 18 years of age or over can sue in Small Claims Court. If you are younger than 18, your parent or guardian may sue on your behalf. Only an individual can sue in Small Claims Court. Corporations, partnerships, associations, or assignees cannot sue in Small Claims Court. However, they can be sued in Small Claims Court. If you are a corporation, partnership, association or assignee, you can bring a Commercial Claim or Consumer Transaction. For more information, click on Commercial Claims and Consumer Transactions.

    In general, the person suing is called the claimant. The person being sued is called the defendant. You may sue more than one person at the same time.

    You must be the proper person to sue in Small Claims Court. For example, if you are involved in an accident while driving an automobile that is not registered in your name, you cannot sue for the damage caused to the automobile during the accident. Only the registered owner of the automobile can sue for the damages caused to the automobile.

    To learn more about bringing a Small Claims Court case, continue reading below. You can also read the law on this procedure, by clicking on Civil Court Act section 1803.

    Small claims court process

    Where to Sue: Venue

    A claimant must begin the lawsuit in the proper county. In general, a claimant can sue in the county where either party resides. If no party resides within the City, the action can be brought in the county where either party has employment or a business address. If the defendant does not have a residence, employment, or have a business address within the City of New York, you cannot bring the lawsuit in the Small Claims Court. To find the location in your county, click on Locations.

    Small claims court process

    Starting the Case

    To begin an action in Small Claims Court, a person, or someone acting on his or her behalf, must come to the Small Claims Court Clerk s office in the proper county and fill out a statement of claim. To find out where the clerk s office is located in your county, click on Locations. To find out when the Small Claims Court Clerk s office is open, click on Court Hours. You may also use an outside service to fill out your statement of claim and electronically file it with the Court. If you are interested in starting your case this way, click on electronic filing.

    The person filling out the statement of claim must be able to explain the reason for the lawsuit, know the amount of the claim, and have the correct name and address, including zip code, of the person or business that is being sued. If you are not sure of the correct name of the business, you should go to the County Clerk s office in the county where the business is located and look up the certificate of doing business, photocopy the certificate and bring it to the court. The person filling out the statement of claim must be able to explain the reason for the lawsuit, know the amount of the claim, and have the correct name and address, including zip code, of the person or business that is being sued. If you are not sure of the correct name of the business, you should go to the County Clerk s office in the county where the business is located and look up the certificate of doing business, photocopy the certificate and bring it to the court. View and print the small claims claim form.

    You can watch a short tutorial to explain how to fill in the form.

    Small Claims Form Instructions:

    Video (run time: 4:52 minutes/seconds, Windows Media format )

    Small claims court process

    You will have to pay the court fee to file your claim. If your claim is for an amount up to and including $1,000.00, there is a fee of $15.00. If your claim is for an amount over $1,000.00 and up to $5,000.00, there is a fee of $20.00. The fee must be paid by cash, certified check, money order or bank check made out to Clerk of the Civil Court. Personal checks will not be accepted.

    The clerk will give you a date for the hearing. Small Claims Court hearings are usually held at 6:30 p.m. If you are a senior citizen, a disabled person, or a person who works during the evening, you may request that your small claims hearing be heard during the day. You or the person appearing on your behalf must show proof of age, or disability, or nighttime employment. The proof can be in the form of a letter from your job or from a doctor, a driver s license showing your birth date, or other similar documents.

    If you live outside the City of New York and want to sue a party within the City of New York, you may file your claim by mail. Contact the Small Claims Court Clerk s office in the county where the defendant lives, works or has a place of business to obtain the necessary form.

    Small claims court process

    The court system does not provide electronic filing at this time. However, several private vendors provide this service. The service provided by each of the vendors is different, and you must review their requirements. We advise that you review this entire website, as it offers a lot of information on how to proceed with your case.

    The current vendors are:

    Small claims court process

    Notifying the Defendant

    After your claim is filed, the Small Claims Court clerk will serve a notice of your claim by sending it to the defendant. The notice of claim tells the defendant when to appear in Small Claims Court, and includes a brief statement of your claim and the amount of money you are requesting.

    The notice of your claim will be sent to the defendant by certified mail and by ordinary first class mail. If the notice sent by ordinary first class mail is not returned by the post office within 21 days as undeliverable, the defendant is presumed to have received notice of your claim, even if the notice of claim sent by certified mail has not been delivered.

    If the post office cannot deliver the notice of your claim (for example, the defendant may have moved without leaving a forwarding address), the court clerk will give you a new hearing date and will tell you how to arrange for personal delivery of the notice to the defendant. Anyone who is not a party to the small claim and who is 18 years of age or older can personally deliver the notice of claim to the defendant. The claimant or any other party to the action may not serve the notice of claim personally on the defendant.

    If the notice of claim cannot be served on the defendant within 4 months after you filed your claim, your claim will be dismissed. If you learn new information about the defendant s location at a later date, you can file your claim again.

    A small claims case will not proceed to trial until the defendant has been served with a notice of your claim.

    The defendant may want to file a counterclaim. For information about this procedure, click on Counterclaims.

    Small claims court process

    Preparing for Court

    Before the date of the hearing, you should gather all the evidence that supports your claim or your defense. Evidence may include: photographs, a written agreement, an itemized bill or invoice marked paid, receipts, at least two itemized written estimates of the cost of services or repairs, a canceled check, a damaged item or article of clothing, or letters or other written documents. If there are records that are not in your possession, you may wish to subpoena them to be produced at the hearing date. For information about this procedure, click on Subpoenas.

    You should also prepare any witnesses you plan to testify at the hearing in support of your claim or defense. The testimony of a person who has special or expert knowledge and experience concerning the subject of your claim may be necessary for you to prove your case. For example, if your claim involves the quality of medical care, you must find a doctor who is willing to give an opinion, in court, about the quality of the care you received. While you might find an expert witness who will testify at no cost to you, it is more likely that you will have to pay for an expert witness testimony.

    If a witness, other than an expert witness, will not testify voluntarily, you can serve the witness with a subpoena requiring them to appear in court and testify. For information on how to do this, click on Subpoenas.

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    Small claims court forms

    Small Claims Court Forms

    All forms mentioned below are available from the Clerk s Office upon request.

  • Form 3: Third Party Claim (to include a party the Defendant feels is responsible for the claim)

  • Form 6: Request for Judgment (to proceed with claim if no Response or if claim is admitted)

  • Form 7: Default Judgment (to record a judgment where no response, where claim is admitted, or where terms of payment agreement not met)

  • Form 10: Payment Agreement (to write down the agreement made at a payment hearing)

  • Form 12: Summons to Witness (to require a person to attend a hearing as a witness)

  • Form 14: Judgment (to record the Adjudicator s decision when a party s claim is successful)

  • Form 19: Notice of Appeal (to tell the parties there is an appeal to the Court of Appeal)

  • Form 20: Affidavit of Service (to prove you served documents to parties or witnesses)

  • Form 21: Consent to Act as a Litigation Guardian (to apply to make or defend a claim on behalf of someone under 19 or disabled)

  • Form 24: Warrant to Apprehend (to request a sheriff s officer or the police bring a witness to the hearing)

  • Form 25A: Certificate of Adjudicator (certifying a witness failed to attend a hearing or remain in attendance as required)

  • Form 25B: Certificate of Adjudicator (certifying a witness refused to do something at the hearing that the witness was required to do)

  • Form 26B: Memorandum of Satisfaction of Judgment (By Application) (signed by the Adjudicator once he or she has received sufficient evidence on an application that the judgment has been paid)

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  • How to File a Case in Small Claims Court (with Pictures), small claims court costs.#Small

    How to File a Case in Small Claims Court

    In small claims courts, individuals can file lawsuits quickly and inexpensively. You can file suits against individuals, corporations, partnerships and other entities. Each state sets the maximum amount that you can sue for in these courts. The dollar amounts range from $2,500 to $25,000. [1] Rules for filing a case in small claims court vary between states and even counties. Before filing your case, be sure to check with your county clerk or an attorney to find out the rules in your state.

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    Reviewing and Evaluating Your Case Edit

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    Small Claims

    A small claims case is a legal action filed in county court to settle minor legal disputes among parties where the dollar amount involved is $5,000 or less, excluding costs, interest, and attorneys’ fees. Forms that have been approved for statewide use are located within the Florida Small Claims Rules. The clerk of court may also be able to provide you with copies of appropriate forms.

    A small claims action begins by filing a Statement of Claim. Small claim cases should be filed with the clerk in the appropriate county. Filing fees for small claims actions are established in the Florida Statutes and local county ordinances, and are subject to change by legislative action. The clerk of court may be able to provide information on filing fees.

    After filing, each person or business being sued must be served with a summons/notice to appear in court on a date and time scheduled when the initial claim was filed. A copy of the Statement of Claim should be attached as provided in the Florida Small Claims Rules. Additional fees are required for service of process on the parties being sued. The court may schedule an initial pretrial conference and also order the parties to mediation to resolve problems. Defendants may file counterclaims, set-offs, or third party complaints as provided in the Florida Small Claims Rules. Practice and procedure may vary from county to county. The clerk of court in the county where the action is filed should be contacted for local practices and procedures.

    The court cannot collect money damages for you. You may wish to consult with an attorney for advice on how to collect a judgment.

    Educational Videos

    These videos will soon be available as an alternative to the text descriptions above. The videos attempt to provide information on common issues that self-represented people have in small claims cases. Please note that these videos are not legal advice, and cannot be relied upon as such. If you have questions about this video or about the small claims case process that are not answered by these videos, please consult an attorney.

    The Small Claims Case Process (coming soon)

    Forms Relating to a Small Claims Action

    The forms that may be required for a small claims case may vary from county to county. For the most accurate information regarding the forms necessary in your county, please contact your county self-help or small claims office.

    Additional Resources

    The following is a list of additional resources that may be helpful in self-help cases.


    For locations of courthouses, clerks’ offices, or legal assistance programs in each circuit/county in Florida, please refer to the State Map below. Identify the circuit in which your case will be filed and click on the blue circuit link below to see locations that may be important to you.

    The State of Florida Map of Judicial Circuits

    Small claims court costs

    Directory (With Associated Counties)