Top court vows to come down hard on crimes related to coronavirus

( Updated : 2020-04-03

China's top court pledged to continue harsh crackdowns against offenses related to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak to guarantee people's health and safety as well as to keep the resumption of work in order.

On Thursday, the Supreme People's Court released eight typical criminal cases concluded in recent weeks, saying its judicial efforts against those making use of the epidemic to swindle would be further strengthened.

On March 11, for example, a defendant surnamed Ji in Zhejiang province was sentenced to 10 months in prison after he defrauded a company to produce masks by pretending to be an official from the provincial health commission and falsifying the authority's seal in February.

"Ji's behavior not only disturbed the order and resumption of work of the company, but also harmed the trust between the enterprise and the government agency, so he should be harshly punished," a court in the province's Pinghu city said in a statement.

On March 5, another defendant surnamed Wang in Jiangsu province was sentenced to eight months and fined 6,000 yuan ($844) as he cheated a nurse out of 5,800 yuan to buy medical supplies.

The nurse, identified as Xu, told Wang via WeChat, a popular instant messaging tool, that she would go to Hubei, the province hardest hit by the virus, to provide assistance in February, so she decided to buy some medical materials on her own to alleviate the local shortage of medical supplies.

But after Xu paid Wang online, she neither received the supplies nor got the refund, so she called police.

"Wang has committed the crime of fraud and should be given a tougher punishment, as he knew the supplies would be used for the outbreak control in Hubei," a court in Jiangsu's Nantong city said, adding it would launch harsher crackdown against those disturbing medical order and harming the medics' interest.