Life sentence of security guard for ATM theft cut to 5 years


Posted at Mar 31 2008 07:30 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2008 03:30 AM

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese worker convicted of taking 175,000 yuan (25,000 dollars) from a faulty ATM machine got his life sentence reduced on Monday following an uproar over the length of his term, state media reported.


A court in the southern city of Guangzhou shortened the prison term for Xu Ting, 24, to five years, Xinhua news agency reported.


Xu, a native of the northern province of Shanxi, will also have to pay back the sum he pocketed from the ATM and has been fined 20,000 yuan.


Xu's trouble began while he was working as a security guard in April 2006 in Guangzhou, the capital of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.


After withdrawing cash from a local ATM, Xu realised it had only deducted one yuan from his account for every 1,000 yuan withdrawn. He subsequently took out 175,000 yuan in some 170 transactions, according to Xinhua.


A friend of his, Guo, withdrew 18,000 yuan after Xu told him about the ATM. Guo later he turned himself in and was jailed for a year, Xinhua said.


Xu went on the run for one year before he was caught and convicted of embezzlement, causing an outcry in the national press and among the legal community, with lawyers calling the punishment too extreme.


Xu's appeal of the sentence led to the revised verdict.