By Zhao Wen
A CIGARETTE inspector who extorted 50,000 yuan (US$7,845) from illegal cigarette vendors after he discovered a hidden den selling and producing counterfeit cigarettes in a residential complex was sentenced to three years in prison with a three-year reprieve, the Jiading District People’s Court said yesterday.
The 26-year-old convict, surnamed Xiao, discovered the den in Nanxiang Town following a tipoff. He took a video record of a couple who were moving boxes of counterfeit cigarettes in November.
Instead of reporting the den to the inspection team, Xiao knocked at the couple’s door and demanded 50,000 yuan after showing them inspection certificates and the video clips.
The couple, who feared to be put into jail, handed 30,000 yuan in cash to Xiao and promised to give Xiao the rest of the money later, the court heard.
On the same day, Xiao asked the couple to buy two cell phones, two SIM cards and two dictionaries and text him through coded messages when the money was ready.
Xiao was caught two days later after the couple had reported the extortion to police. Xiao was also fined 10,000 yuan, the court ruled.