Yuzhou City, Xuchang, Henan, China
A precedent setting criminal trial took place in the Pingdingshan Intermediate People’s Court in Henan, where a man received a life sentence, after he avoided pay road toll fees for a eight (8) month period. It is believed that this is the first time a life sentence has been handed down over an act of fraud.
A man who owned and operated a business with two (2) vans transporting gravel, was able to avoid paying road tolls between May, 2008 and January, 2009. Government officials claim in this eight (8) month period he avoided toll payment on 2,362 occasions equal to 3.68 million yuan ($557,000.00).
Pingdingshan Intermediate People’s Court in Henan province heard that Shi Jianfeng, from Yuzhou city, bought two (2) fake military car license plates, military driver’s licenses, military ID cards and other documents. Military are exempt from paying toll fees.
Lou Yanwei, chief justice in Shi’s case, as saying that the court reached the verdict on December 21, 2010 based on the long duration of the illegal activities and the huge amount of fee evasion as well as his use of fake military documents.
Shi said in court that he hired people to drive two trucks to transport sand and stone and had earned more than 200,000 yuan during that period. Shi Jianfeng admitted that he used fake military documents to evade toll fees in order to earn more money. Shi did not hire a lawyer and does not plan to appeal, the court said.
In additon to the life sentence, the Court imposed a fine of 2 million yuan on Shi and confiscated the “illegal revenue” that he earned during this period.
The life sentence does not mean that Shi will be in jail for the rest of his life because jail terms in China are often shortened for good behavior.
Update: January 17, 2011 – Brother of Shi Jianfeng turns self in for evading huge toll fees