A 37-year-old woman allegedly used cunning extortion tactics to persuade middle-aged men she approached at bus stops to hand over their gold without a fight, according to media reports. 

Dressed well and wearing heavy make-up, she would approach her 50-something targets at bus stops in Chennai, said police. After giving them seductive looks and receiving smiles in return, she would spark up a friendly conversation that would soon turn menacing.

She would tell her victims that if they did not comply she would accuse them of asking her if she was a prostitute, putting them at risk of falling victim to mob justice, according to police. Shocked and scared, they would meekly hand over their jewelry, watching impotently as she sped off on her Activa scooter.

“What she usually does is come on a bike with a lot of make-up. She will wait till she finds a target who is alone and make sure he is wearing gold or other jewelry. These are always men who are over 50 years old because they are soft targets,” said Inspector Chandru, who arrested Asha with the help of a special team. “Once she makes eye contact with her victim or if they smile she will strike a conversation. Soon that will descend to threats.”

Her alleged crime spree ended on June 20, when she was arrested by police at a bus stop in Vadapalani.

Police recovered 20 gold sovereigns after interrogating Asha, The News Minute reported.