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Car plate stealer put to jail for theft, extortion

A Shanghai thief who extorted more than 5,000 yuan (US$794) from owners of stolen car plates was sentenced to 4 ? years in prison yesterday.

Li Xiaohui, 27, was also fined 11,000 yuan by the Xuhui District People's Court.

Prosecutors said Li used tools to steal more than 70 car plates in local apartment complexes under the cover of darkness in one month this year.

Li then stuck a note on the car's rearview mirror telling the owner to contact him and pay 200 to 400 yuan to get the stolen plate back. He also threatened to damage the car if the owner dared to alert the police, the court heard.

Li said he targeted non-Shanghai car plates because their owners would rather pay him than take the trouble to go long distance out of Shanghai to obtain a new car plate.

Prosecutors said Li returned some stolen car plates after receiving money from the victims.


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