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Local court sentences 3 gold robbers to death and life

THREE men who robbed a jewelry boutique in a local supermarket of more than 3 kilograms of gold last September were sentenced to death and life imprisonment today by Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.

Zhang Degang, 33, the mastermind of the heist, was given the death sentence; Wang Fei, also 33, who returned his share of 1 kilogram of gold, received the death sentence with a two-year reprieve; Zhang Bin, 43, who turned himself in, got a life sentence.

The court also confiscated all their personal assets and ordered them to compensate for the missing gold.

Till now, about 2 kilograms of gold is still missing. Zhang Degang and Zhang Bin both insisted they had misplaced the precious metal and lost their shares.

Zhang Degang suggested to Wang last August to snatch gold from the Jiujia Jewels boutique at an E-Mart outlet on Lianhua Road S. in Minhang District because he used to be a security guard in a nearby residential complex and was familiar with the surroundings, the court heard.

They later called Zhang Bin to join them. The trio, all from Chongqing in western China, bought camouflage outfits and knives and made smoking bombs with beverage bottles.

At about 8pm on September 8, when the supermarket guards were changing shifts, they rushed to the boutique, threatened the sales staff with toy guns, threw the smoking bombs, smashed the showcase, and made off with gold jewelry, weighing more than 3 kilograms and valued at 1.01 million yuan (US$155,864).

The trio divided the gold equally afterwards.


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