Two staffers of a vehicle repair shop were arrested and accused of placing metal spikes on a section of a highway in an effort to puncture tires and boost their business, Henan’s Zhengzhou Evening News reported on Tuesday.
The pair, who reportedly worked for a Hebi repair shop, admitted they had bought more than 200 wire spikes and had sprinkled them along a 47-kilometre stretch of the G4 Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, police said.
The goal was to boost the shop’s business, they told police.
Last week police received reports from drivers saying their vehicles had been hit by tire spikes. Between midnight and 6am on Thursday, more than 12 drivers reported similar cases.
Police grew suspicious of the shop after noticing that most of the hobbled cars had stopped there for repairs.
They arrested the two suspects after discovering that the two had borrowed a minivan from a gas station. Inside the vehicle was a box containing marks that were believed to have been caused by spikes similar to those on roads.
Last year saw a number of cases in which thieves scattered spikes on highways and stole victims’ belongings while they changed their tires.
The Hebi shop workers could face a light sentence because no one was reported injured. But the offences - sabotaging traffic facilities and endangering public safety - could lead to 10 years in prison, a life sentence or even the death penalty if someone had died, said legal expert Li Junyang.