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April 26, 2011

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Fake removal man stole from clients

A BOGUS removal man was yesterday jailed for three years for stealing luxury watches and jewelry worth 270,000 yuan (US$41,435) from an Indian customer.

Chen Tao was also given five years' probation and ordered to pay a fine of 140,000 yuan, said the Jing'an District People's Court.

The court heard that Chen, 30, had registered a removal company online using the name of the well-known Shanghai Dazhong Move Transportation Co, despite having no connections with the firm.

Chen was booked to move furniture for an Indian man working for a trade company in Jing'an, the court heard.

On October 1 last year, Chen and three other removal staff went to the home.

While there, Chen stole a purse from an unlocked safe in the bedroom, the court heard.

The purse contained more than 20 luxury items, including a Raymond Weil watch, an Omega watch, five rings, nine pairs of earrings and five necklaces.

Chen left after orchestrating a dispute over the price of the job, but the theft was noticed shortly afterwards.

After police were alerted, Chen asked a friend to return the goods and surrendered to officers.

The court said it gave Chen a lenient sentence as he had returned the stolen items and because it was his first offence.

City transport watchdogs warned that there are many fake removal companies out to make a quick buck.

Each year, they receive hundreds of complaints about fake business operators overcharging or even stealing goods from customers, officials said.

The city closed more than 35 websites related to unlicensed removal companies last year, including those using the name of famous removal companies in the city.


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