Chinese man spots police officer driving car he reported stolen (from police station) two years earlier

Vehicle was driven away while owner’s son was reporting an earlier attempt to steal it

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 6:10pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 6:10pm

A police officer in northwest China has been suspended after being found behind the wheel of a car that was stolen from a police station car park more than two years ago, according to a local media report.

The story began in February 2016, when the vehicle owner’s son, identified only by his surname Zhang, visited Qujiang district police station in Xian, capital of Shaanxi province, to report that a group of people, with whom he had a financial dispute, had tried to steal his father’s car, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Tuesday.

After filing his complaint, Zhang returned to the car park to find the vehicle had left without him.

Police opened a case file, but the car went unseen for 26 months, the report said.

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It was only in April of this year that Zhang happened to see the car on a street in Qujiang. Although it had been fitted with fake licence plates he was able to identify it by the bespoke styling work he had done on the vehicle, the report said.

Zhang and a group of friends he was with approached the car and also called the police. When officers arrived at the scene it became clear the man behind the wheel, identified by his surname, Wang, was one of their number.

The report did not make clear exactly how Wang came to be in possession of the car, but said he had links to the people who had been involved in the financial dispute with Zhang and who were suspected of stealing the vehicle in the first place.

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The police officer was suspended from duty for one month and ordered to pay a fine of 3,000 yuan (US$450), the report said.

He also had 12 points deducted from his driving licence, which equates to an automatic suspension and means he will have to sit a written test to regain it.

The report did not say if he or any of his alleged associates would face any criminal charges.