China To Retry Farmer Given Life For Evading Tolls Road

By: Rob Adams
Staff Writer
Published: Jan 14, 2021

China to retry farmer given life for evading tolls road. China to retry local farmer after he was given a life sentence for evading tolls on roads. A court announced announced Friday after a massive public outcry over his heavy punishment.

The court in central Henan province had sentenced Shi Jianfeng to life imprisonment for fraud for avoiding highway tolls that added up to more than $560,000. He was also fined $302,000. Shi mounted fake military license plates on his two trucks so they could avoid paying tolls more than 2,300 times between May 2008 and January 2009.

Shi drove through the tolls for eight months when he ran a business transporting gravel. Military vehicles don't have to pay highway tolls. News of the verdict triggered an uproar among Chinese who argued in online postings and commentaries that shorter sentences were given out for the more serious crimes of rape or murder.

The comments also strayed beyond Shi's case to popular complaints that highway tolls are too high, especially for a farmer. The public outrage was so loud that the court held a news conference this week to defend its decision. On Friday, Liu Penghua, director of the political department of the Pingdingshan Municipal Intermediate People's Court, said the court has ordered a retrial, adding that the verdict may change because the defendant has indicated he had accomplices.

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