Sunday, January 16, 2011

Toll Road Life Sentence

Whew, I'm glad I have a transponder... wouldn't want to risk life in prison for not paying toll road fees.

BBC News
Shi Junfeng said he - and not his elder brother - had put military number plates on the vehicles to evade tolls of 3.7m yuan (£350,000;$560,000).

The case caused an outcry in China, with many questioning the harsh sentence given to Shi Jianfeng.

The court in Henan province had already ordered a retrial.

Shi Jianfeng had been found guilty last week of evading the fees over a nine-month period while delivering sand and gravel in two trucks. The court ruled he had used military number plates, meaning the vehicles could avoid paying road tolls.

He was sentenced to life in prison, a fine of 2m yuan and the loss of his political rights. He also had his illegal earnings confiscated.

So many questions...

1. How can he have racked up that much toll fees in 9 months? Even in two trucks, that's $280k per truck or ~$1000 per day. How can you possibly incur that much toll road fees? The Airport Expressway in Beijing is ~20km long and costs RMB10. If we use that rate, then $1000 converts to about 13,400km... per day!

2. I've always said that the justice system in China is messed up but this is ridiculous. People get months in jail for vehicular manslaughter yet avoiding toll road fees deserves life in prison? Maybe the police/prosecutor made up the crazy toll fee amount so he would be "eligible" for life imprisonment?

3. Maybe they're punishing him for using fake military plates. I've heard many stories about cars with military plates abusing all sorts of traffic laws. I can understand waiving fees if they need to move military assets over toll roads but why does every private car with military plates above the law?

This is so wrong in so many levels... even for China.

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