Xu Chi of Shanghai Daily reports that the three expatriate thieves who were caught on closed circuit television stealing Da Marco’s reservation book have returned the book to the restaurant three days later:
But while the book was returned, many of the 300 or so customers whose names and telephone numbers it contains – including many expats – are concerned the gang may have copied their details.
There is speculation the men worked for a cold-calling company, and it was reported that reservations books were stolen from other restaurants around the same time.
A lucrative trade exists in personal details in China, with some companies prepared to pay 10 yuan (US$1.56) for each name and number.
Pola said when she was first called by the culprits, the person claimed they worked for a consultancy company.
But the following day he called again, this time insisting they were students who simply took the book as a drunken prank.
Whatever their motivation, while the foreigners confessed to the theft, they will not face punishment under Chinese law.
Pola said she was told by police that they cannot establish a case as the book is not valuable.
What the police told Pola was confirmed by a local lawyer who told Shanghai Daily that a case of stealing can only be established under Chinese law when the value of the goods stolen reaches a certain value or if they consitute a business secret. If that makes no sense to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t make any sense to us either.
In the meanwhile, some anonymous Englishman has apparently called up the restaurant to assure them that the three culprits would be fired. If anyone can furnish us with the names and photos of the culprits along with the name of their employer though, we’d love to do the community a favour by publishing them here. These scumbags shouldn’t be allowed to go scotfree.