China: Around The Nation

Chinese court orders payout over gold seizure at airport two decades ago

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 January, 2017, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 January, 2017, 10:45pm

A top provincial court in southern China has ordered the state to pay 2.45 million yuan (HK$2.27 million) in compensation to a man who had nearly 10kg in gold bars confiscated at an airport more than 20 years ago, The Beijing News reports.

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Ma Habi, from Gansu province, was stopped at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in February 1996 as he was checking in his luggage, which included 50 gold bars weighing a total of 9,350 grams, the report said.

Ma was detained for smuggling gold, and all 50 gold bars were confiscated. He was released on bail two months later.

Airport police said Ma had bought the gold without authorisation, in violation of a gold and silver management regulation issued in 1983.

But after the regulation was revised to allow individuals to buy and trade gold, Ma decided to seek compensation from the airport police.

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He filed a request for state compensation in November 2015 and the airport police agreed to a payout based on the gold price in 1996, along with 1.12 million yuan in interest accumulated from August 19, 1996 to February 28, 2016. The total compensation was about 2 million yuan.

Dissatisfied with the amount, Ma applied to the courts for a higher sum.

The Guangdong Higher People’s Court ordered compensation of ¥2.45 million but Ma had not received the payout and would file a new application for the money as soon as possible, the report quoted his lawyer as saying.