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Leader of moped theft gang sent to jail

THE head of a gang who bought stolen mopeds and sold them back to the original owners through scalpers has been jailed for two years for hiding illegal income, a district court said yesterday.

Four other members of the gang were given prison sentences of between eight months and one year, and more will be dealt with in separate trials.

The head of the gang, Ren Jun, a 33-year-old Anhui Province native, ran a moped repair shop on Ningqiang Road in Putuo District as a cover for his criminal activities.

He would pay members of his gang for stolen mopeds.

The stolen mopeds were sometimes sold from 1,000 yuan (US$146) up to 1,400 yuan for a near-new one, said Li Bingbing, who told the court he was in charge of stealing mopeds for the gang. Li was jailed for 15 months for larceny.

Ren preferred to sell the mopeds back to the original owners.

"I changed the locks of the mopeds and parked them at nearby supermarkets or residential communities," Ren told the court. "Then I would let scalpers wait for the owners to find their moped so they could buy them back."

Scalpers also gathered in the Dayangqiao area, where people who had lost their mopeds would look for them.

The victims were usually asked to pay about 3,000 yuan for their mopeds back. Many paid up because it cost much more to buy a new one.

Ren was believed to have sold 10 mopeds for 20,000 yuan.


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