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Cleaner bailed on gold theft charges

AN airport cleaner who faced life imprisonment for picking up a box full of gold jewelry cried out with relief after she was given bail today after nine months behind bars.

Prosecutors in Baoan District of south China's Shenzhen City said that Liang Li did not need to be detained for further investigation and could be bailed out while awaiting trial, reported today's Shenzhen Evening News.

The forty-year old cleaner said she thought the box was discarded because she found it behind a trash can at Shenzhen Baoan Airport on December 9 last year. The box contained jewelry valued at 2.61 million yuan (US$382,187).

Chinese law can release suspects on bail who have been proven harmless to society. Liang's charges could be dropped if police find no other criminal evidence against her within a year.

Liang's lawyer Si Xianli insisted his client was innocent after she was released on bail. Baoan District's prosecutors should decide whether or not they would charge Liang with theft on September 13, according to Si as quoted by the Shenzhen based newspaper.

She allegedly asked a male cleaner to put the box into safe keeping in case anyone might look for it, Si said. Liang also told her coworkers not to open the box, but two colleagues discovered it was full of gold jewelry and took some home.

They have not been charged. Liang could face life imprisonment if the theft charge stands because of the enormous value involved, according to Legal Daily today.


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