SPC, SPP Interpretation on the Applicable Law in Handling Cases of Theft

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Interpretation on Several Issues on the Applicable Law in Handling Cases of Theft

(Passed on March 8, 2013 by the 1571st meeting of the Adjudication Committee of the Supreme People's Court, and on March 18, 2013 by the 1st meeting of the twelfth session of the prosecutorial committee Supreme People's Procuratorate)

The following interpretation on several issues regarding the applicable law in cases of theft is made on the basis of the PRC Criminal Law and the PRC Criminal Procedure Law so as to punish crime thieving activities and protect pubic and private property:

Article 1:Where theft is of public or private property valued at 1000-3000 or more, 30,000-100,000 or more, or 300,000-500,000 or more; it shall be respectively be found to be "a larger amount", "a huge amount", or "an especially huge amount" as used in Article 264 of the Criminal Law.

High People's Courts and People's Procuratorates of each province, autonomous region, or directly controlled municipality may determine specific standards for local enforcement within the ranges provided in the previous paragraph based on the state of local economic development and with consideration of the public security conditions, and report these to the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate for approval.

Where theft is on public transport operating across regions, and it is impossible to verify the site of the theft, whether the stolen amount has reached a 'larger amount', 'huge amount' , or 'especially huge amount' shall be determined on the basis of the standards identified by the provincial, autonomous region, or directly governed municipality High People's Court and people's procuratorate for the region accepting the case.

Where theft is of drugs or other contraband, it shall be handled as the crime of theft and sentence according to the seriousness of the circumstances.

Article 2: Where those with any of the following situations steal public or personal property, the standard for a 'larger amount' shall be 50% of that in the previous article:

(1) those who have previously received a criminal penalty for theft;

(2) Those who have received an administrative punishment within the last year for theft;

(3) Those organizing or controlling theft by minors;

(4) Theft in the effected area of a natural disaster, disaster resulting from an accident or public security incident, during the time of the emergency.

(5) Where theft is of property from persons with disabilities, seniors with no family, or those who have lost the capacity to labor;

(6) Where theft is of hospital patients' or the families property;

(7) Where funds for disaster relief, emergencies rescue, poverty support, poverty relief, migrants, relief or medical treatment are stolen;

(8) Where theft causes serious consequences.

Article 3:Three or more instances of theft within 2 years shall be found to be 'repeated theft'.

Illegally entering other's homes to live a domicile provided to others for family life that is relatively separated from the outside world, shall be found to be 'burglary'.

Theft while carrying firearms, explosives, controlled knives, or other weapons that individuals are prohibited from carrying, or theft while carrying other weapons sufficient to physically harm others for the purpose of the illegal or criminal conduct, shall be found to be 'theft while in possession of a weapon."

Theft of the personal items carried by others in a public place or on public transportation, shall be found to be 'pick-pocketing'.

Article 4: The amount stolen is to be determined in accordance with the following:

(1) Where stolen property hase a valid proof of worth,the value is determined in accordance with that proof; where there is no valid proof of worth, or where determining value in accordance with the proof is clearly unreasonable, an appraisal organization shall be retained in accordance with relevant provisions to conduct an appraisal;

(2) Where foreign currency is stolen, the value in Renminbi is to be calculated in accordance with the central parity rate announced by the China Foreign Exchange Trading System or authorized institutions of the People's Bank of China at the time of theft; where the China Foreign Exchange Trading System or authorized institutions of the People's Bank of China have not announce a central parity rate for that currency, follow the domestic bank conversion rate to calculate the value in RMB, or calculate the rate at which that currency is converted into U.S. dollars, and the conversion rate of U.S. dollars to RMB, to calculate the value.

(3) Where electricity, gas, water, or other such property is stolen, and the amount stolen can be confirmed, follow that amount to calculate the value of stolen property; where there is no way to confirm the amount stolen. calculate the average monthly usage over the sixth months preceeding the theft, and subtract that from the meter reading after the theft, to estimate the amount stolen; Where there is less than sixth months normal usage prior to the theft, calculate the average monthly usage over the usage period prior the theft, and subtract this from the meter reading after the theft, to estimate the value.

(4) Where communication lines are knowingly stolen, or the communications equipment and facilities of others' telephone numbers are copied and used, determine the value stolen in accordance with the amount paid by the lawful user for those charges; where it isn't possible to directly confirm the amount, subtract the average monthly telephone charges for the preceding 6 months from the monthly charge after the theft or copying to determine the value stolen; where the lawful user has not used the telecommunication equipment or facilities for 6 months, calculate the stolen value from the actual average monthly use.

(5) Where others' communications lines are stolen, or phone numbers are copied to be sold, determine the amount stolen in accordance with the sale value.

Where the harm to the owner of the stolen goods is greater than the value stolen, the value of the harm may be considered as a sentencing factor.

Article 5: For the theft of payment vouchers, negotiable securities, or valuable tickets, determine the value stolen in accordance with the following methods:

(1) For the theft of payment vouchers, negotiable securities, or valuable tickets,where no name is recorded and no loss reported, the value stolen shall be calculated on the basis of the face value and proceeds,awards, prizes, together with other gains.

(2) For the theft of payment vouchers, negotiable securities, or valuable tickets, where the name is recorded,and it has already been redeemed, the value stolen is to be calculated in accordance with the portion already redeemed; where they have not been redeemed, but the owner is unable to uses methods such as reporting, reissuing or replacing to avoid losses, the value stolen is to be calculated in accordance with the actual harm caused to the owner.

Article 6: For the theft of public or private property where there are any of the circumstances provided for in Article 2(3) through 2(8) of this interpretation, or where the amount stolen through burglary or theft with possession of weapon reaches 50 percent of the standards provided in Article 1 for 'a huge amount' or 'a particularly huge amount' it may be respectively considered to be 'other serious circumstances' and 'other particularly serious circumstances' as provided in article 264 of the Criminal Law.

Article 7: In any of the following circumstances, where the circumstances were minor in the theft of public or private property it may be not prosecuted or have criminal punishment waived; when necessary, the relevant departments are to give administrative punishments.

(1) the are legally-prescribed circumstances for leniency;

(3) they did not receive a share of the gains, or received a small portion and were not a principle offender;

(3) The victim has forgiven them;

(3) other situations where the circumstances are minor and the harm was not large..

Article 8:Where theft is of household members or close family members' property and they have been forgiven, it usually may be considered to not be a crime; where criminal responsibility is pursued, leniency shall be shown in light of the circumstances.

Article 9: Where theft is of state-owned museum collections' ordinary cultural relics, 3rd degree relics, 2nd degree relics, or higher, it shall be respectively be found to be "a larger amount", "a huge amount", or "an especially huge amount" as used in Article 264 of the Criminal Law.

Where theft is of more than one cultural relics of different levels from state-owned collections, three cultural relics at the same level may be regarded as one relic at the level above.

For the theft of cultural relics from privately owned collections, the value stolen is to be determined in accordance with the first item of paragraph 1 in article 4 of this interpretation.

Article 10: Theft of others' motor vehicles, is to be dealt with in accordance with the following provisions:

(1) Theft of motor vehicles resulting in the loss of the vehicle is convicted and punished as the crime of theft;

(2) Where a vehicle is stolen and used as a criminal instrument so as to steal other property, and is illegally occupied or abandoned after, causing the loss of the vehicle, the value of the vehicle is to be calculated into the value stolen;

(3) Where a motor vehicle is stolen and used as a criminal instrument to perpetrate another crime and the illegally occupied or abandoned so that the vehicle is lost, punishment for the theft and the other crime is to be combined; where the vehicle is returned without causing a loss, heavier punishment is given in accordance with the crime committed;

Article 11: Where public or private property is stolen resulting in the destruction of the property, it is to be handled in accordance with the following:

(1) Employing destructive means to steal personal property, causing the property of others to be destroyed is to be given a heavier punishment as the crime of theft; where it constitutes theft and another crime,give a heavier punishment in accordance with the more serious crime;

(2) Where after committing theft, the property of others is destroyed so as to conceal the crime or get revenge, and it constitutes a crime, the crime of theft and the other crime are to be combined for punishment;

(3) Where the acts of theft do not constitute a crime, but the destruction of property constitutes another crime, conviction and punishment is in accordance with the other crime.

Article 12: In any of the following circumstances, attempted theft shall be pursued for criminal responsibility in accordance with law:

(1) The goal was to steal property worth a huge amount;

(2) The goal was to steal precious cultural relics;

(3) Other situations of serious circumstances.

Where there are both accomplished and attempted thefts, reaching different sentencing ranges, punishment is given in accordance with the heavier; where they reach the same sentencing range, it is punished as the completed theft.

Article 13: Where units organize or direct thefts, and it meets the requirements of Criminal Law article 264 and the relevant provisions of this interpretation, the criminal responsibility of the organizers, directors or direct perpetrators is to be pursued for theft.

Article 14: Where a fine is given as punishment for the crime of theft, it shall be between 1,000 rmb and 2 times the value stolen; where there is no value stolen or there is no way to calculate the value stolen, it shall be between 1,000 and 100,000 rmb.

Article 15: Where a fine is given as punishment for the crime of theft, it shall be between 1,000 rmb and 2 times the value stolen; where there is no value stolen or there is no way to calculate the value stolen, it shall be between 1,000 and 100,000 rmb.

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