Guiding Opinions on Handling Cases of "Eggshell Extortion" Violations and Crimes

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Promulgation Date: 2020-9-22
Title: Guiding Opinions on Handling Cases of "Eggshell Extortion" Violations and Crimes
Document Number:公通字〔2020〕12号
Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities:Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of public security
Source of text: 人民法院新闻传媒总社
"Eggshell Extortion" is used as a translation for the Chinese 碰瓷 (peng ci)which literally means 'bumptin porcelain'. The idea is that a person pretends they are especially fragile to claim damages.

To the High People’s Courts, People’s Procuratorates, and Public Security Departments (Bureaus) of all provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities, and to the Production and Construction Corps Branch of the High People’s Court of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the People’s Procuratorates and Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps:

In recent years, the "eggshell extortion" phenomenon has sometimes occurred. So-called "eggshell extortion" refers to the perpetrator deliberately fabricating or concocting the false appearance of victimhood and using fraud, extortion, and other methods to illegally solicit property. In practice, some scofflaws carry this out by "setting traps" to concoct or fabricate damages to their person and property; some use self-inflicted injuries, injuries caused to accomplices, or prior injuries to falsely accuse victims; some deliberately cause traffic accidents and use the victim's fear that their own violations of road traffic regulations or drunk driving, driving without a license, incomplete motor vehicle registration, etc. will be discovered through investigation; and after the "eggshell extortion" is discovered, some have directly carried out illegal and criminal activities such as robbery, theft, and intentional injury. This type of violation and crime is vile in its nature, it causes serious consequences, undermines the social atmosphere, facilitates the spread of malign forces, and the public reaction to it has been strong. These Opinions are drafted on the basis of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Public Security Administration Punishments Law, and other laws in order to lawfully punish and correct illegal and criminal activity of 'eggshell extortion', to safeguard the public's lawful rights and interests, and to preserve social order.

I. Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out by concocting facts, concealing the truth, and obtaining compensation through fraud, meeting the provisions of Article 266 of the Criminal Law, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of fraud; Where insurance money is obtained by fraud meeting the provisions of Article 198 of the Criminal Law, it is to be convicted and punished the crime of insurance fraud.

Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out by fabricating infringements of personal and property rights and interests, inventing civil disputes, or raising civil lawsuits, meeting the provisions of Article 307 of the Criminal Law, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of false litigation; and where it concurrently constitutes other crimes, it is to be convicted and punished in accordance with the offense providing heavier penalties.

II. In any of the following situations, where carrying out "eggshell extortion" to seek the property of others meets the provisions of article 274 of the Criminal Law, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of blackmail and extortion:

1. Carrying out minor violence such as tearing, pushing and shoving, or soft violence such as surrounding, obstruction, stalking, clinging, pestering, entangling, causing a commotion, gathering crowds to create momentum, and seizing property;

2. Deliberately causing a traffic accident, and then using the victim's traffic violations or other violations of laws and regulations to threaten them;

3. Threatening to reveal the private information of the parties learned of at the scene;

4. Threatening to infringe the life or property of the victim and his close relatives.

III. Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out by using violence, threats, or other methods at the scene, and other's property is taken, meeting the provisions of Criminal Law article 263, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of robbery.

IV. Where 'eggshell extortion' is carried out by employing means such as diverting attention and surprise to steal or take others' property, meeting the provisions of Criminal Law articles 264 or 267, are to be respectively convicted and punished as the crimes of theft and snatching.

V. Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out by deliberately causing the destruction of other's property, meeting the provisions of Criminal Law article 275, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of intentional destruction of property.

VI. Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out by driving a motor vehicle to chase, collide, cut off, or block other motor vehicles, or to suddenly accelerate or decelerate, brake suddenly, or otherwise act to impact traffic safety, thus causing serious accidents, causing serious injury, death or causing significant losses to public or private property, meeting the provisions of Article 133 of the Criminal Law, it is to be convicted and punished as the crime of causing traffic accidents.

VII. Where others are intentionally killed or injured, or serious injury or death is negligently caused, in carrying out 'eggshell extortion', meeting the provisions of Criminal Law articles 232, 234, 233, or 235, it is to be convicted and punished respectively as the crimes of intentional homicide, intentional harm, negligent manslaughter, or negligent infliction of serious injury.

VIII. Where "eggshell extortion" is carried out to seek others' property by employing methods such as unlawful imprisonment that illegally deprive others of their physical liberty or illegally search others' persons, meeting the provisions of Criminal Law articles 238 or 245, it is to be convicted and punished respectively as the crimes of unlawful imprisonment or unlawful search.

IX. Where "eggshell extortion" cases are jointly carried out, those who played main roles shall be found to be primary offenders and are to bear criminal responsibility all crimes that they participated in, organized, or directed; those who played secondary or auxiliary roles shall be found to be accomplices and given have punishment mitigated, commuted, or waived in accordance with law.

Three or more persons jointly and intentionally carrying out 'eggshell extortion' crime who form a relatively fixed criminal organization shall be found to be a criminal gang. The ringleader shall be punished in accordance with all the crimes committed by the gang.

Where the standards for designation of malign forces are met, investigation, indictment, and trial shall be in accordance with that for criminal underworld organizations, malign forces, and malign force crime gangs.

10. Where 'eggshell extortion' does not constitute a crime but constitutes a violation of public security administration, it is to be given a public security administration penalty in accordance with law.

People’s courts, people’s procuratorates, and public security organs at all levels should handle cases strictly in accordance with the law and strengthen coordination and cooperation to quickly handle, accurately characterize, and severely punish the illegal and criminal acts of “eggshell extortion” in accordance with law. First, investigations and dispositions, approval of arrest, indictment, and trial work should be lawfully and timely carried out. After receiving a call, accusation, or report, the public security organs shall immediately rush to the scene, quickly stop the violation or crime, appropriately protect the scene of the crime, and control the perpetrator. Where the conditions are met for opening a case, promptly open a case and investigate, comprehensively collect evidence, gather surveillance video of the scene, collect testimony from those gathered at the scene, verify information on the persons and vehicles involved in the case, and promptly conduct investigation of the case along with related cases. The People's Procuratorates shall approve the arrest and prosecution as soon as possible in accordance with the law in "eggshell extortion" cases submitted by the public security organs for approval of arrest and review for prosecution. The people's courts shall promptly hear 'eggshell extortion' cases in accordance with law, and where a crime is constituted, strictly pursue the criminal responsibility of the criminals. Second, coordination and cooperation should be enhanced. Public security organs and people’s procuratorates should strengthen communication and coordination to resolve issues such as on the nature of the case, jurisdiction, and evidence standards, and to ensure the smooth handling of cases. In difficult and complicated cases, the public security organs may hear the opinions of the People's Procuratorate. Where supplementary investigation is truly necessary, the People's Procuratorate should prepare a clear and detailed supplementary investigation outline, and the public security organs shall promptly supplement the evidence. The people's courts should strengthen the force of trial and conduct fair trials in strict accordance with the law. Third, the criminal policy of combining leniency and severity should be strictly implemented, putting the plea leniency system in place. Comprehensively consider factors such as the extent of subjective malignancy, the means and methods of the conduct, the harmful consequences, and the role played in the case, to achieve differential treatments. The focus shall on combatting ringleaders of crime gangs, active participants, and unrepentant repeat offenders in "eggshell extortion" cases, strictly punishing them in accordance with law. Criminals whose criminal nature and harmful consequences are particularly serious, and whose social impact is particularly vile are not to be given lenient punishment even where there are discretionary circumstances calling for leniency that are insufficient to justify a lenient punishment. Those with circumstances such as turning oneself, making meritorious service, confession, admitting guilt and accepting punishment, shall be punished leniently in accordance with law. At the same time, the legal standards must be correctly understood, paying attention to distinguishing between "eggshell extortion" crimes and ordinary civil disputes or administrative violations, so as to prevent the occurrence of "downgrading dispositions" and also preventing problems such as overinclusivity. Fourth, publicity and education should be strengthened. The people’s courts, people’s procuratorates, and public security organs should increase the extent of legal publicity and education in the process of punishing such crimes in accordance with the law. While lawfully handling cases, they should concurrently use news media, official WeChat accounts, and microblogs to appropriately reveal the means and methods of "eggshell extortion" violations and crimes to the public, guiding the public to strengthen their awareness and self-protection so that when encountering such situations, they shall promptly call the police and protect their lawful rights and interests in accordance with the law. A group of illustrative cases should be appropriately exposed, to use cases to explain the law and effectively deter violators and criminals, creating a positive rule of law environment for the whole of society.

All localities and relevant departments should earnestly implement. If you encounter any problems in the implementation, please promptly report to the relevant higher authorities.

Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, Ministry of public security

September 22, 2020

 

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