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December 9, 2009

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Homeless woman: 'Jail me!'

A HOMELESS woman eager to find free accommodations this winter went a little too far - she set fire to a bank's ATM to earn herself a prison sentence in south China's Guangdong Province.

Police have detained the woman surnamed Zeng, 22, and will soon refer her to prosecutors, yesterday's Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

Zeng failed to find a job in Shenzhen when she moved a month ago from her hometown in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Penniless, she slept in 24-hour self-service banking outlets at nights.

Around 2:15am on Sunday, while she was sleeping near banking terminals in Bao'an District, a bank security guard asked her to leave.

Enraged, Zeng set fire to the ATM terminals in the outlet, shouting "put me in jail so that I'll have food and place to shelter," a guard told the newspaper.

The fire destroyed one machine, costing 20,000 yuan (US$2,300), said the bank.

Zeng allegedly confessed, and could be charged with damaging public property - with a three- to seven-year jail term if convicted.


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