Re-trial for ATM 'thief' given life sentence

Re-trial for ATM 'thief' given life sentence

A Chinese court will re-hear the case of a man who was handed a life sentence for taking funds from a faulty cash machine which deducted just Yn1 from his account for every Yn1000 withdrawn from the ATM.

According to local press reports, Xu Ting, 25, withdrew nearly Yn175,000 - around US$24,000 - in 171 transactions from a malfunctioning ATM located in Guangzhou in May 2005.

Xu also allegedly told a friend of the fault who withdrew Yn18,000 from the unit. Xu's friend turned himself in and was jailed, says the report, but he remained "on the run" for a year before being arrested.

Following the trial last year, Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court sentenced Xu to life imprisonment for the crime and ordered him to turn over his personal assets.

Under the criminal law, people who steal more than Yn100,000 from a bank face a life sentence or the death penalty, says the press report.

However earlier this week the higher Guangdong High People's Court reportedly overturned the sentence and other charges due to "ambiguous" and "insufficient evidence".

The lower court is now set to re-hear the case. Lawyers for Xu have submitted a letter to the intermediate court requesting his release on bail pending the trial.

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