Caixin
Sep 12, 2020 07:21 PM

Jiangxi Cop Detained After Nearly $10,000 Stolen from Suspect’s Digital Wallet

A 55-year-old Jiangxi woman detained by local police over an organized crime case has herself been victimized, after more than 66,000 yuan ($9653) was taken from her phone’s WeChat account while it should have been locked up in evidence.

Fengxin county police confiscated Luo Ximei’s phone when they incarcerated her in August last year. Now, those same police are under investigation — and one has been detained on suspicion of theft — after family members found her pension account had been emptied and tens of thousands of yuan had vanished from her linked bank cards between October and June.

Some of the money was used to buy vegetables and sanitary napkins, records seen by Caixin show.

Luo’s relatives said she could not have made the transfers and purchases because she was prevented from using her phone while in custody.

Mobile payments are a ubiquitous part of life in China, People typically connect their bank cards to the apps to facilitate transfers to and from their bank accounts.

Luo’s bank bills, seen by Caixin, show the missing money was transferred from four bank cards connected to her WeChat account, including one that receives her pension.

Luo’s family were first alerted to the situation in May when they discovered her pension account had been completely emptied.

“The phone was evidence, not something that should have been touched,” said Luo’s daughter Huang Yan.

Huang said she had complained multiple times, but no one had offered her an explanation. She said she first reported the case to police in May, but they did not file a report.

Luo’s family was fobbed off again when they reported the case on June 15, according to Huang. They appealed by registered mail to the Fengxin County Public Security Bureau chief Huang Caiyong and deputy chief Xu Wensen a month later.

“The receipts show the materials were signed for, but we have still not received a response,” Huang Yan told Caixin.

According to Huang, on July 27, Fengxin police finally responded to the family, saying by phone that the case had been referred to the local graft agency for investigation.

When the family contacted the graft agency weeks later, they were told the person in charge of the case was not available, and would call them later, but they did not. 

Caixin first revealed Luo Ximei’s case on Friday. Then on Saturday, the politics and legal affairs commission Fengxin’s Communist Party committee released a statement (link in Chinese) saying a local policeman surnamed Chen had been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement from a WeChat account. Caixin has confirmed that the statement relates to Luo’s case.

Luo’s daughter says the officer’s detention is not a satisfactory outcome, and that the incident should be investigated as a case of corruption, not merely theft.

Speaking to Caixin before Chen’s arrest, Luo’s lawyer, Zhu Xiaoding, said: “Who spent the money? Where are the goods that were bought? Who was the money transferred to?”

“The police have still not answered those questions after more than three months.”

Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (yingzheguo@caixin.com) and editor Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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