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China: Around The Nation

Chinese thieves demand cash via QR code for return of stolen wing mirrors

Motorists have been asked for US$45 to US$105 to get the glass from their mirrors back, according to television report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 3:24pm

Police in the central Chinese city of Xian are investigating reports of thieves trying to extort money from motorists – using a QR code – for the return of their stolen wing mirrors.

One driver, surnamed Hu, said the glass from the wing mirror of his Mercedes-Benz was stolen for a sixth time this year on Friday, Shaanxi Television reported.

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The thief left him a note with a phone number, he said in the report on Saturday.

Hu sent details of his car model and where it had been parked in a message to the number and was told he would have to send cash by scanning a QR code on the note if he wanted to be reunited with the wing mirror.

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The thief demanded 700 yuan (US$105) from the motorist, but later lowered this to 500 yuan (US$75).

Hu told the broadcaster that the same thing had happened when his car mirrors had been stolen in the past but he had refused to pay the money.

“I would rather just buy a new mirror than give them money,” he was quoted as saying.

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In a second case, another motorist reported the glass from his wing mirror had been stolen last week, according to the report. He paid the 300 yuan as demanded and his mirror was left for him in a black plastic bag outside a grocery store.

Hu told the broadcaster he reported the case to police after a fruitless search for the mirror near where his car was parked.