China phone thief wins S$15,368 from victim

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese court ordered a mugger's intended victim to pay his attacker 70,000 yuan (S$15,368) after he fought off the attempted robbery and beat him up, state-run media reported Wednesday.

The court sentenced the mugging target, identified only as Yuan, to three months' probation along with the fine, the Global Times newspaper said.

The would-be thief, named only as Zeng, tried to steal Yuan's cell phone in Dongguan but he turned on the mugger and chased after him with two other men, the report said.

The trio caught up with Zeng and beat him. A bruised Zeng reported the February incident to police the next day and the three men turned themselves in soon afterwards.

Yuan and his co-defendants were criminally liable since they did not report the attempted robbery to police before taking action, Dongguan No. 3 People's Court ruled according to the Global Times. The men have said they will not appeal, it added.

Dongguan, in the southern province of Guangdong, is sometimes dubbed "China's Sin City" for its expansive red light district, the target of a much-publicised crackdown last year.

China's Communist party has emphasised improving the "rule of law" in China, but maintains that the justice system must still ultimately answer to the ruling organisation.

The report did not say whether Zeng had been prosecuted for attempted theft.