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January 25, 2013

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Over 400 defiant debtors confined

MORE than 400 defaulting debtors received judicial detention or prison sentences last year for ignoring court rulings to pay off debts, the Shanghai Higher People's Court said yesterday.

The number amounted to nearly half of the total punished in the past five years, thanks to a citywide crackdown on defaulters that began in November 2011.

The higher court asked local courts to pay particularly close attention to back pay cases, which are critical for migrant workers needing money to go home for the Spring Festival.

So far this month, local courts have concluded nearly 4,000 debtor cases with 336 million yuan (US$54 million) involved.

Last year, local courts handled 105,200 cases in which debtors refused to obey court rulings, an increase of 7.2 percent over 2011. A total of 383 debtors received judicial detention and 20 severe cases resulted in prison terms.

The higher court said local courts will continue to work with airports and banks to pursue those who ignore court orders to pay their debts.

Last year, a total of 23,989 recalcitrant local debtors had their names published online, among them 8,068 restricted from free spending and 1,226 not allowed to leave China's mainland.

On November 1, a man who spent freely and ignored a court order to pay a debt of more than 760,000 yuan, was handed a sentence of one year in prison by the Huangpu District People's Court.

The heaviest punishment for defaulters with a deaf ear for court rulings is three years in prison, according to the Chinese Criminal Law.

Local courts say anyone who thinks the debtors listed online appear to have extra money or properties or live a lavish life can tip the authorities.


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