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July 26, 2010

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Mom stays out of jail because of lenient law

A WOMAN has avoided serving some of a two-year jail term for larceny because she is still in the nursing period, judges said.

Tai Yinjing, 24, has a total of 10 years to serve, including eight years for a previous fraud conviction, but a Jing'an District People's Court judge said she deliberately gets pregnant so that she can serve the sentence outside of jail.

Tai told the court she wanted to serve the sentence as soon as possible but nobody could help take care of her children.

"She will be jailed eventually. We just have to wait until the one-year nursing period ends," said a judge surnamed Rui, who handled the case.

Tai visited a former classmate who was in hospital one year ago. When the classmate took a walk outside the ward, Tai stole several bank cards from her bag.

Tai knew the classmate liked to use her birthday as the password and tried the cards at the hospital's ATM. The code worked and Tai withdrew 20,800 yuan (US$3,068) from the accounts.

She also changed the accounts to her name. When her classmate found the account details had been changed she reported to police.

Tai surrendered to police when she learned from her mother-in-law that police were looking for her.

"I have no job and I am pregnant," Tai told police. "I also have two children to raise. I had to steal from the classmate because I was in need of money."

Police discovered Tai had been sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2007 for fraud.

She had just given birth to her eldest son at that time and was allowed to serve the sentence out of prison.

According to Chinese law, pregnant women and women in the nursing period, which is for one year after the child is born, can serve their sentence out of prison.

This time is counted towards the jail term. These women are required to report to police regularly during this period.

Tai took her two-year-old daughter to court for the verdict last week because the girl "couldn't leave her mother."

She was sentenced to two years in prison. Since there was eight years remaining on the fraud sentence, she still has 10 years to serve, the court ruled.

Her youngest son was born in February, which means her nursing period will expire in February 2011.


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