Prison for thief after 25 years on the run

Tian Shengjie
Four years behind bars for man who fled to Sri Lanka after his accomplice in a theft from a railway warehouse was sentenced to life imprisonment for theft.
Tian Shengjie

After 25 years on the run, a man surnamed Yao surrendered to police and was sentenced to four years behind bars for theft, Shanghai Railway Transportation Court said on Thursday.

Yao was a temporary worker handling goods in a warehouse of the city’s railway.

In the winter of 1994, he and another man, surnamed Xi, broke into the warehouse at night and stole 10 boxes of cigarettes, worth 62,000 yuan (US$8,872.2), the court said. Railway police received a call and quickly arrested Xi.

After learning that Xi had been sentenced to life imprisonment, Yao went into hiding. He used another person’s identity to apply for a passport and absconded to Sri Lanka in 2006. Without legal identity documents, Yao couldn't find a decent job and had to plant sugarcane to support himself, the court said.

Seeing China’s development and regretful that he had not been supporting his family, he returned to China last October to give himself up to police. 

The court said that Xi’s sentence had been reduced and he was released last year.

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