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Chinese man sentenced to life for avoiding road tolls

Court in Henan Province said today it would hold a retrial following public outcry over the man’s harsh sentence and heavy fine.

Image: woodleywonderworks via Creative Commons

A CHINESE FARMER WHO avoided paying over €400,000 in road tolls over an eight-month period has been sentenced to life in prison, sparking outrage in the Chinese media and on popular websites.

Shi Jianfeng from the Henan Province was also fined almost €225,000, the New York Times reports.

The government has been criticised for imposing such a harsh sentence on Shi, who used fake military licence plates to allow him avoid paying tolls for his two trucks.

Shi turned away from farming to transporting sand and gravel in a bid to make a better income. The case has drawn attention to the high tolls paid by trucks, which can reach €150 for one journey, and sparked angry responses on internet forums in China.

Xinhua reports that a court ruled today that Shi will be retried following the controversy. A court employee said that the verdict may now change because Shi has indicated he had accomplices in the evasion.

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