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steal revenues by tampering hotel alipay ac to personal ac

Court: This Constitutes the Crime of Theft

Customer payments have arrived, how come 30,000 yuan sales revenue disappeared and the hotel Alipay account was tampered? The Hongkou District People's Court of Shanghai (hereinafter referred to as the "Shanghai Hongkou Court") held a public hearing on a case of stealing money by changing the collection account secretly. The defendant, Wang, was sentenced to three years' imprisonment with a suspension of three years and a fine of 5,000 yuan for the crime of theft. 


[Case Review] 

Wang, formerly a hotel manager, was dismissed by the hotel in July 2019 for five days' absenteeism. Failing to reach an agreement with the hotel on labor remuneration, Wang felt that he wasn't treated fairly and thus became disgruntled. On November 1 and November 4, 2019, he logged onto the backend of the hotel reservation website, tampered the hotel Alipay account to his own Alipay account and changed the way of cash withdrawal. The sales revenue totaling 30,000 yuan was stolen for his personal consumption and repayment.

On December 11, 2019, the hotel found that its sales revenue was stolen and called the police. On December 17, Wang was seized and later refunded 30,000 yuan to the hotel with the help of his family.


[Case Study]

After the trial, the Shanghai Hongkou Court held that Wang's act of stealing huge amount of company money for the purpose of illegal possession constituted the crime of theft. Wang was convicted of the crime of theft charged by the public prosecution organ. Given that he had truthfully confessed his crime, admitted the guilt, accepted the punishment and returned all the stolen money with the help of his family, a lighter punishment and probation can be given. The court then rendered the above judgment.

The focus of the dispute lies in whether the act of changing the collection account secretly constitutes the crime of theft or crime of fraud? In a crime of fraud, the victim voluntarily delivers the property to the criminal after being cheated. Obviously, in this case, neither the customer nor the merchant are voluntary and they are completely unaware of the money going into the perpetrator's account. The key factor in determining the crime of fraud, i.e. the victim's consciousness and behavior of voluntary disposal, is absent. Therefore, Wang's act doesn't constitute the crime of fraud. In fact, Wang obtained the merchant's property by way of stealing. Whether in terms of social concept or in terms of ownership, the money belongs to the merchant at least at the moment customers make the payment. The perpetrator's act of illegally possessing the merchant's money by secret means fully meets the constitutive characteristics of the crime of theft and should be recognized to constitute the crime of theft.


[Relevant Laws]

Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China

Article 264 Whoever steals a relatively large amount of public or private property, commits thefts many times, commits a burglary or carries a lethal weapon to steal or pick pockets shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than 3 years, criminal detention or control and/or a fine; if the amount involved is huge or there is any other serious circumstance, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 3 years but not more than 10 years and a fine; or if the amount involved is especially huge or there is any other especially serious circumstance, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of not less than 10 years or life imprisonment and a fine or forfeiture of property.

Article 67...

A criminal suspect who truthfully confesses to his crime may be given a lighter penalty although there is no voluntary surrender as mentioned in the preceding two paragraphs; and may be given a mitigated penalty if any especially serious consequence is avoided for his truthful confession.

Article 72 Where a convict sentenced to criminal detention or imprisonment of not more than 3 years meets the following conditions, probation may be announced, and probation shall be announced if he is under the age of 18, is pregnant or attains the age of 75:

(1) The circumstances of the crime are minor;

(2) He shows repentance;

(3) He is not likely to commit any offense again; and

(4) Announcing probation will not have any major adverse impact on the community where he lives.


If there is any accessory penalty imposed on a convict on probation, the accessory penalty must still be executed.


(Writer: Jiang Yemeng of Shanghai Hongkou Court)


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