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April 12, 2013

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'Brother Belt' earns kudos for act of courage

A BRAVE taxi driver who whipped a bank robber with his belt and forced him to chuck the stolen money has earned the moniker "Brother Belt," while the bank showed its gratitude by giving him a 2,000 yuan (US$323) reward for his quick thinking.

On Wednesday, a man took off with 100,000 yuan from the teller counter of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on Zhangjiang Road in the Pudong New Area. Zhu Ping, who drives an illegal taxi, chased the thief for more than 500 meters and forced him to drop the stolen money before making good his escape.

Zhu dueled Wan with a belt, who was armed with a knife, prompting the police to label him "Brother Belt" for his daring act of courage.

The taxi driver said he saw people chasing a masked young man when he drove by Zhangjiang Road near Jiangdong Road.

"I did not think too much. In fact, I didn't even know it was a bank robbery in the first place. I just thought this guy had stolen something, maybe a wallet, and he should drop it," Zhu told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

The 36-year-old Zhu cornered the younger - and much taller - 23-year-old Wan and repeatedly whipped him with the belt as they approached the narrow Jiangdong Road.

Zhu's brave act caught Wan by surprise who tripped as he tried to escape.

"I tried to hit his hand with the belt to force him to drop the knife before I could catch him," Zhu said. "If I couldn't beat him, at least he should drop the bag, I thought."

As a crowd gathered, Wan threw the bag with the money into a car near the gate of the Zhangjiang Experimental High School. Then he fled in a taxi but was later nabbed by the police.

Zhu realized the gravity of the crime only after he had a look at the bag. "I would not have let him go if I had known he had stolen so much money," Zhu said. "When I turned back, he was already about 200 meters away."


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