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Man jailed for theft and sham kidnapping

A MAN has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for theft and trying to extort 120,000 yuan (US$17,580) from a friend by claiming to have kidnapped his 13-year-old son.

When police caught Zhu You, they were surprised that the boy said he wasn't kidnapped and that he had voluntarily left his father.

The father, surnamed Wang, returned home one day in November last year and found gold ornaments and more than 10,000 yuan in cash missing.

A few hours later, Wang became more worried as his son didn't return home after school. The next morning, Wang received a message stating his son had been kidnapped and demanding a 200,000 yuan ransom.

Police thought a family friend was responsible for the theft and kidnapping as the person knew the location of the valuables, nothing else had been touched and there was no sign of forced entry.

The police soon focused on Zhu, a tenant and good friend of Wang who disappeared after the theft. Zhu had divorced not long ago and Wang, a restaurant owner, offered him a room free of charge.

During the investigation, Wang continued to negotiate with the kidnapper following police instructions. The two sides eventually decided on a ransom of 120,000 yuan

Zhu told Qingpu District People's Court that he had encouraged the boy to steal from his home and leave the city with him. He also argued that he didn't steal anything.

The court ruled Zhu was guilty of both larceny and extortion because he used the boy, who is too young to judge right and wrong, as a tool for the theft. Since Zhu didn't use violence, his demand for 120,000 yuan was ruled as attempted extortion.

Zhu received a lighter sentence because he confessed everything in court.


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