China: Around The Nation

Chinese man jailed for five years for blackmailing instant noodles manufacturer

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 3:13pm

A man was sentenced to five years in jail for blackmail by a court in Xingtai after he claimed millions of yuan in compensation for a pack of expired instant noodles, CCTV reports.

It is the latest conviction of claimants for consumer compensation, bringing the number of those found guilty in China to 19 in the past 20 years, according to a legal studies association for consumer rights in January.

Li Haifeng, the defendant, said he experienced diarrhoea after eating a pack of instant noodles in December 2014. He then noticed that the noodles were past their expiry date and found abnormal objects in the vinegar pack included with the noodles, the report said.

Li hired an inspection and test company to analyse the pack, which was found to contain mercury four times as high as the safety standard.

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The manufacturer, Jinmailang, offered to compensate Li with seven cartons of noodles and pay his phone costs related to the case. Li refused the offer and started posting extensively on social media, where he said Jinmailang produced noodles that contained carcinogens, and demanded 4.5 million in compensation.

Li also said blamed the company’s noodles for his mother’s breast cancer.

Li, who lives in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, was arrested by police from Hebei province, where Jinmailang is based.

He was found guilty of blackmail by a court in Hebei province in December, and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Li appealed and his sentence was reduced to five years at a second trial on Friday.