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Fitness club members irate over closure
7/9/2004 14:31

The management of a fitness club vanished overnight last week, leaving behind 500 angry members, some of whom broke into the facility on Sunday.
Members of Jieshen Fitness Club on Caobao Road, Xuhui District, discovered the facility was locked on August 24. Members gathered outside the club to exchange views on the incident every evening since.
The discussions turned ugly as a dispute broke out with building property administration workers on Sunday. Several members broke down the club's door and were seen taking fitness equipment.
Two police officers couldn't stop the members, who managed to get away with various items such as barbells, weights and deflated yoga pads.
Qiu Qian, a club member, told Shanghai Daily yesterday that she and one of her relatives Lin Yi tried to stop others from taking fitness equipment.
"I can understand why they did it, but it's illegal and they shouldn't do that," Lin said.
Lin also said the authorities should have sent more officers earlier to calm irate members and protect the gym from being looted. Qiu, a university lecturer, said she hoped people would learn from the incident.
"The one lesson I have learned this time is to think twice before committing to a golden business promotion," Qiu said.
Qiu was introduced to Jieshen Fitness Club by a friend and joined in March. She paid 1,580 yuan (US$190) for a one-year membership.
The club lowered its annual membership price from nearly 3,000 yuan originally to the latest offer of 1,200 yuan.
Qiu said the club kept offering new promotions since July.
"The club operated well and provided good service consistently," Qiu said. "Members included teachers and lawyers. The latest price was much lower than competing gyms, but no one realized it could be a trap."
Police officer He Guozhou from Xuhui District Public Security Bureau said an investigation would take place, but added there was little hope members would recover their losses.
A members' representative will wait outside the club for the next few days to collect names that will be submitted to officers.
It's not the first time fitness members were left without a club. Last year Gold's Gym on Tongren Road was shut down by a court over a rent dispute.