Airport Cleaner Finds Gold Jewelery, Faces Life In Prison


From Tianya:

An airport cleaner who only makes a thousand yuan per month unexpectedly “picked up” [found] a box of gold jewelery worth over 3 million yuan RMB next to a trash can! The most staggering things is that this kind of “good luck” for this “lucky person” was actually the beginning of a nightmare.
As a result of this windfall, 40-year-old cleaner Liang Li may be prosecuted by the judicial organ for theft, and if convicted, because of the huge sums, the harshest punishment Liang Li faces is — life imprisonment!

She, Liang Li, is 40-years-old and from Kaifeng, Henan province. She works for a cleaning company, and is responsible for the cleaning of Shenzhen Airport Terminal B Departure Hall. Around 8:20 in the morning, Liang Li was cleaning as usual in the Terminal. The first time she walked to the #19 check-in counter, she saw two female passengers with a child next to the trash can eating seeds, between them a luggage cart with a small cardboard box similar to instant noodle boxes on it. After 5-6 minutes, the passengers hurriedly entered the security check point. After a while, Liang Li arrived at the #19 counter trash can and saw that the small cardboard box was still on the luggage cart. Thinking that they had abandoned/discarded it and seeing that there were no people around, she treated it as a discarded article and put it in her cleaning cart. Then Liang Li continued to work in the hall. At around 9 o’clock, Liang Li walked to #16 restroom at the hall’s north side which was about 79 meters away from where the incident occured, telling a co-worker Cao X that she “picked up” a cardboard box, that within might be a battery, to first put it in the handicapped restroom, and to give it back if someone were to claim it.

Around 9:40, Liang Li and other cleaners gathered on the 3rd floor to eat breakfast together, and amongst them Liang Li again told everyone that she found a cardboard box, that is relatively heavy, and could be a battery. At this time, another cleaner Ma X asked to go see it, and that if it were a battery to give it to him to use for his electric scooter.

With this, Ma X and Cao X went downstairs to the handicapped restroom where the cardboard box was, and after opening the cardboard box discovered that actually bags of gold jewelery were inside. The two people took out two bags and after taking one each, left. When it was almost time to get off work, Cao X saw Liang Li and tod her that the cardboard box probably contained gold jewelery. Liang Li did not believe her, went to that restroom and took out the jewelery to see, and also gave a piece of jewelery to her co-worker Han Ying to go ask the gold jewelery store in the terminal hall. Han Ying came back to tell Lian Li, this jewelery is the same as the gold jewelery sold in the jewelery store. Liang Li thought Han Ying was joking with her, thinking it was impossible for such valuable things to not be claimed by anyone, and at most they were the fake jewelery that are sold on the side of streets.  No matter what, they were found and not stolen, so at worst he could take them home after work and give them to children to play with or gift them to relatives and friends. So after getting off work at noon, Liang Li took the cardboard box back to her home.

At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Liang Li’s co-worker Cao X yelled from the bottom of her rented apartment, saying: The thing you found, the owner has called the police. Liang Li told Cao X, saying it will be fine if she just turns it in tomorrow when she goes to work.  Around 6 o’clock in the evening, two people came to Liang Li’s home, saying they are police, asking her whether or not she picked up a cardboard box. After checking that they were police, Liang Li voluntarily took out from under her bed that cardboard box and gave it to them. The police took Liang Li’s entire family to the police station.

Apparently, on that morning at 9 o’clock, the airport police stations received a report from a man called Wang Tengye, saying that he was an employee of a jewelery store in Dongguan City, that on that morning at 8 o’clock at the #19 counter while handling the paperwork for checking in luggage, the airport staff told him that valuable items cannot be checked in, so he immediately went to the #10 counter 22 meters away to ask the manager on duty, and had put indeed put a 14 kg cardboard box of gold jewelery on the luggage cart, and this luggage cart was parked next to the #19 counter trash can. 10 minuteslater, when Wang Tengye returned to his original place, he discovered that the box had disappeared, and hurriedly called the police.

That night, the airport police using plain clothes policemen found this gold from Liang Li, Cao X, and Ma X. Through appraisal, the jewelery found with Liang Li was a total of 13599.1 grams of pure gold, worth RMB 2,893,922 yuan; with the gold jewelery recovered from Cao X and Ma X being worth 106,104 yuan and 66,048 yuan.


Comments from Tianya:


Compared with the street racing case, [killing] a human life is inferior to picking up gold…


Sigh, those corrupt officials embezzle several tens of millions but are only sentenced under 20 years, so who told us to be little ordinary citizens? No money, no power, no background, only able to scream and yell on the internet, but what use is it?
(The above was randomly generated text, I only pressed several of the 26 letters, and do not know why these Chinese characters appeared, could it be that my computer has a virus? I hope a skilled person can help me resolve it. )


If even this is sentenced forever, then everyone must remember: do everything you can to “embezzle” and not “pick up”.


I saw a piece of news today, there was a corrupt official who embezzled a lot, but was only sentenced 15 years.
Had I known it was like this earlier, I would have gotten some gold and let the corrupt official pick it up, so this way he can be sentenced for life OH YEAH~~


Murderer, light sentence.
Embezzler, light sentence.
Rapist, light sentence.
Because they are the government’s people.
Without stealing and robbing, others must always be locked up.
Not pocketing the money one picks up is a virtue, but it can’t be a necessity, right?


Actually I wanted to hear what that stupid cunt who lost the gold jewelery has to say.


My god, returning the lost things is good enough, why send a low-level cleaner to prison? Isn’t this a little too much? If I were that person’s child, I would definitely murder the owner after I grow up. He would become my mortal enemy, the trash, losing his own stuff yet still blaming others!!


To be honest, if a box of jewels were placed in front of me, I also would very likely not turn it in, with the reason being:
1. I may not be able to find the owner.
2. The most important thing is: In this society, there are people who do bribery, corruption, stealing robbery, swindling, burning, killing, and looting, while all of our legal ways to get rich have basically all been blocked off, so we can only acknowledge that we do not have the fate of winning a million through a 10 yuan lottery ticket (a lot of those are to cheat the ordinary common people right?), so if there were such a get rich opportunity placed before me, am I not allowed to think that this was bestowed upon me by the heavens, and not take a chance?


Chinese characteristics: officials embezzle several tens of millions only sentenced a few years, ordinary citizens find money sentenced forever.


I think this case and Xu Ting’s case are very different. To this point I still think Xu Ting was wronged:
According to logic, when we are applying for bank cards, we are signing an agreement with the bank, but there is one thing that is not written on this agreement, but we must all admit, and that is:
However much money I withdraw from the card is however much money the bank should deduct.
If you do not acknowledge this agreement then the bank will lose its credibility. So when Xu Ting withdrew 100 yuan, but the bank only deducted 1 yuan, we know: the bank breached contract!
The bank breached the contract but made Xu Ting pay for it, this is ridiculous.


China’s law is already not a virgin, having been raped but not learning from her mistakes afterward.


This is without question theft.

Airport luggage cars are not supermarket shopping carts, what is inside is personal property.

If this cleaner is innocent, then the shipping people, etc. in the airport can arbitrarily determine other people’s things to be “abandoned/discarded” things.


Wow, the job of picking up trash is really dangerous.


That owner truly TM is a SB lowly person, the law is a whore any person (here person is of course rich people) can fuck.


I ding this post with 70 km/h speed, allowing me to ding it 5 meters high, 20 meters far.


Comments from Sina:


When we promote not pocketing the money one picks up, it is not to say that one must not pocket the money one picks up. She found something and has the right to first consider before acting. The person who lost something should earnestly request the finder to return to him, and appropriately give a reward.  If the person who lost something seeks his items through the police, then treats the finder like a thief, then that goes against society’s rules. If the law then wants to charge the finder with a crime, then society has been flipped upside down! Because that finder could destroy the found item, and as long as he does not admit it, he is completely innocent.


1. Withdraw fake money from ATM — the bank denies responsibility.
2. Online bank robbed —> depositor/account holder responsible.
3. Bank accidentally gives too much money —> depositor/account holder must return.
4. Bank accidentally gives too little money —> not responsible if you left the counter.
5. ATM machine error gives too little money —> User responsible.
6. ATM machine error gives too much money —> User stole, be jailed forever.
7. Guangdong Kaiping Bank boss embezzles 400 million —> jailed 12 years.
8. ATM error spits out extra 170,000 for ordinary commoner Xu Ting —> jailed forever.
China’s characteristics.


This incident has given me an inspiration: Do not recklessly pick up things from the ground, but the responsibility of cleaners is to maintain cleanliness, so may I advise that in future no one be cleaners, lest one day you unwittingly become Liang Li Number Two, arrested on charges of theft.


According to Japan’s legal regulations, even if someone finds something and returns it to the owner, the owner must pay 6-12% of the lost items’ value, and if over one month no one claims the lost items, the itms are automatically the finder’s. I think we should also enact this statute.


Safekeeping 3 million gold jewelery like this? Liar, he should be charged with negligence!


I am speechless, finding something and not returning it can be sentenced for life? I often pick up 1 mao, 1 yuan, etc. money on the streets, and have never thought of returning it to others. I turn around give it to a beggar. Is doing this breaking the law? I can certainly say that if 3 million were placed in front of me, I definitely would take it. We all covet, right? Me taking advantage is not allowed? There are also people who pretend to be noble and virtuous, saying they would not pocket what they pick up. That is because you did not pick up enough. If there really was 3 million in front of you, we should ask how many people in China would be able to avoid pocketing the money? How many people have argued daily with their boss because their wages was short 50-100. How many people have argued half the day with a vendor at the market to save 1-2 yuan. If you had 3 million, let me ask, would you still care about that 1 yuan of money? Finding 3 million is life sentence! If it were me, I would immediately and stealthily leave the country because with 3 million I can do anything! This is just my personal feelings, it is relatively extreme.


Brothers, China’s laws protect the rich, so just stop hoping.

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  • VeerLeft

    Welcome to China… 1st biatches

  • frank.

    what kind of idiot leaves millions of rmb worth of gold on a luggage cart?

    • bert

      Apparently Wang Tengye.

  • Jordan

    No justice in China…. a prelude to a revolution.

  • DWR

    To be honest, it’s not a great defence: “they were found and not stolen, so at worst he could take them home after work and give them to children to play with or gift them to relatives and friends”. It’s always better to hand in things that you find.

    Incidentally, if it’s ever raining in London, go to the “Lost and Found” office of London Underground and you’ll get a free umbrella. ;)


  • Mike Fish

    Lesson… in China, if you find valuable shit, just fuckin throw it away.

    • MarkChristian

      apperantly if u find something valuable, and throw it away.. you get sued. article: Man Finds Ring On Ground, Throws It Away, Gets Sued By Owner

  • FOB

    I just moved to China and I always afraid that I will break a law that I don’t even know what it is then go to jail forever.

    Also, I am wondering do foreigners think the people from China, Taiwan or Hong Kong are the same or there are some significant differences.

    • mike


      hk and tw are WAYYYY different from china dude. study up

    • Kai

      As a foreigner in China, you could get more leniency with the police who just don’t want to bother. However, you could run into an officer who gets it into his mind that you’re one of those arrogant foreigners who think the laws of China don’t apply to them. If you’re actually one of them, you can be screwed pretty badly. Even so, the worst punishment you can typically get is deportation or a stern lecturing. You’re unlikely to face the hassles and troubles many locals (and especially migrant workers) face, which includes getting their ass beat or being sent against their will to a mental asylum. In general, if you behave like a decent human being, you’re generally going to be fine.

      Some foreigners (usually those that have never been to Asia or interact with Asians) think all Chinese (or Asians) are the same. Some don’t. Most foreigners who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan will definitely say the Chinese from each place are very different in certain ways, yet very similar in others. For fun, you can check out the Visa TVC post somewhere on this website. Should be a link on the home page sidebar or do a search.

      • FOB

        Thank you! Hope you don’t mind to answer me one more question.
        Do you like Kong Hong or Taiwan more?

        • Kai

          Both have their charms. Hong Kong certainly shows its British influence, whereas Taiwan shows Japanese and American influence. These generalizations are usually only poignantly apparent if you’ve been to both and can compare. Definitely visit them if you can (and Singapore too) as they’ll offer an interesting perspective into how different (or similar) Chinese people can be given different socio-political backgrounds/influences. Food is awesome too. :)

      • “Most foreigners who have traveled to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan”
        According to these sentence, Taiwan and Hongkong are not part of China. Not good, Kai, not good at all…

        • Kai

          LoL, oh you’re so silly. You’re right, I should’ve added “mainland” in front of “China”. My bad.

          For the record, however, anyone who has seen me discuss China-Taiwan knows that I actually DON’T think Taiwan is part of China…er, mainland China as governed by the CCP.

    • Hitman,

      Don’t worry, in China, you can do anything but just don’t get caught… you’ll be fine…

  • Look at your own crimes first

    Who ever expects fair judgement in China ? Not me.

    This woman made a minor but stupid mistake by taking it home, but had no bad intentions. After all it’s not the most clever people who end up cleaning others crap. Let her go. Let Chinese gov look at it’s own grove crimes before hunting simple people !!!!!

  • infinity

    She doesn’t deserve jail time, but she is dishonest.

    • Josh

      Yeah, right. After all, she only told all her co-workers that they should go look for who’s box it is and waited for someone to come claim it until the end of the day before finally taking it home with totally innocent intentions. What kind of moron leaves 3 mill RMB in gold sitting on a cart unattended for 10 minutes? I mean, seriously? Especially in an airport where there are literally thousands of people walking around.

      • infinity

        She only told her co-workers because she was hedging her bets.

        • not you

          She couldn’t be honest–she is just a cleaner, a peseant in Chinese eyes. So she must be guilty. More Chinese prejudice and discrimination. I think life in prison is a bit extreme.

  • chengdude

    This story was in the 5/12 edition of China Daily. It concluded with this pithy analysis from Li Jianyong, a laywer consulted for the article:

    “She picked up the box near the dustbin, it’s hard to decide on her motive”.

    Remember that name -Li Jianyong- and pray you never need his services.

    Free Lian Li and sentence Wang Tengye to six months in the Shenzhen 3rd People’s Intermediate Prison for Morons.

    • Hitman,

      Don’t matter whether she is right or wrong, she will go to jail because she is poor and the moron is rich… for those that live in china long enough to know there isn’t much justice, just rich and poor..

  • 7*#

    However, you could run into an officer who gets it into his mind that you’re one of those arrogant foreigners who think the laws of China don’t apply to them. If you’re actually one of them, you can be screwed pretty badly. Even so, the worst punishment you can typically get is deportation or a stern lecturing.

    Pretty much true, but white foreigners very rarely get deported. Black ones do, so do Asians from poorer-than-China Asian countries.

    Whities or ABC’s even, no.

    The cops here are useless.

    I know a guy who stood in front of a bunch of cops referring to them as rubbish (in Chinese) and they did zilch.

    No wonder they refer to martial law and shit, they have no idea how to do anything, let alone crowd control.

    • Bagger King

      In America, I think, if you stood in front of a bunch of cops and told them they were rubbish, they would probably do nothing. Because a person who does that is stupid and probably drunk. Not worth the police’s time. As long as he isn’t going to hurt anyone, it’s just a waste of air and effort.

      Of course, if you do something stupid and then say something stupid like that…

  • CureLost

    Hmm… I think this think will work itself out. I mean I used to hear stories like this all the time…X found Y at place now X is modeled worker because X found it and returned Y.

    It seems like this is what happened. When did this thing change?

  • Diabloer

    does the authority have something better things to do? if i happen to find a bag of jewelery worths $40k USD (about 3mil RMB?), there is a part of me really want to take it.

    • mechanized

      its actually about 430K USD. nice chunk of change.

  • Celkian

    So i see someone leave something behind. I take it, notice it’s heavy and think its a battery. It turns out it is/looks like gold jewelry. That belongs to the person who left it and i happen to work for the place they lost it in. I split it with a person, contemplate giving it to people, and take it home. That is stealing.

    This whole “she was only taking it to a jeweler, she didn’t think it was real” sounds a lot less likely to me than that she just took it. The punishment seems harsh but i can’t blame the police for charging her.

  • shw

    This is the whole problem with Chinese Law. When you climb up a tree to peep at someone you are charged for RAPE.. When you literally Rape young girls, you are charged with prostitution of young girls, When you embezzle / steal US$ 100’s millions, you get 12- 20 years. The law seems to be written by the officials for the officials only. It is there because it is probably used as a means to take care of the poor and powerless. The spoilt brat who killed a young man while racing downtown in Hangzhou was treated so special and charged with traffic accident !! The police even spoke on his behalf – 70 km. With 70 Km he is able to throw the victim up in the air 5 M high and landed 20 M away is a real feat. The bunch of “experts” commissioned by the police do not seem to help the situation either.

    These recent cases goes to show how the general public is being treated by their “fatherly officials” I am sure a real father never treats their sons in such manner.

    The idiotic guy who lost the box of jewellery calims that he walked away for 10 mins and just some meters away. This is just full of bull !! If I am carrying with me 3 million RMB worth of gold, I would literally tied the box to my body at all times !! I would not be suprised some idiotic policeman will accept such idiotic statement at all knowing what the standard and quality of the police force.

    God will punish those who does evil to mankind and the innocent !!

  • KID

    “These generalizations are usually only poignantly apparent if you’ve been to both and can compare.”

    This Kai fellow needs to learn to use English properly. . .

    ‘poignantly’ does not mean what you think it does, dummy. . .

    • Kai

      Uh, no, it means exactly what I think it does and what I’m using it for. You can check the dictionary yourself (here’s one). Tell me which definition I’m using.

      I am saying that it is usually those who have experienced both that can appreciate the generalizations I made. It is “poignantly apparent” to them, because it resonates with their own experiences and feelings.

      Now, I certainly make mistakes in English, but this isn’t one of them, “dummy…”

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone considered whether Wang Tengye even actually owned the box of gold?

  • Stimpy

    Hang on. Am I missing something?

    She works in the airport. She finds something that is quite clearly not rubbish. She decides not to hand it in to the right place (lost property) but to walk around with it for a couple of hours, then put it in a place where anyone can walk up and take something from it.

    Then, at the end of the day, she decides to take it home for her children to play with.

    This is after she was told it was gold, real and pretty fucking expensive.

    Look, you have to feel sorry for her ’cause she’s poor and everything. But she stole, she clearly knew what she was doing (as did her colleagues) and her excuses in here smack of bullshit. Jewelery for her kids to play with, my arse.

    She got caught out. Thems the laws. And I would hope that if I left something valuable lying around somewhere and someone stole it, I would also get it back. Whether I was rich or not.

  • Bagger King

    I am thinking it is not the guilt of the person that is under question. She did steal, because she works for the airline company. And I do think there is a lot of lying going on, I just don’t know by who, but I think it’s the lady. I mean, the man says that he left for ten minutes and when he returned it was gone… and then she says she held it in case someone claimed it until the end of the day. I don’t know about you, but if I was a stupid moron, and left something valuable and then it was stolen, I would go to the airport security and report it right away. I don’t think the Airport Systems in China are that messed up you can’t do this.

    Anyways… this isn’t about that. It doesn’t matter if she is guilty or not… what does matter is how unfair the justice system is, and not just to the Chinese, but to everyone in China.

    • chen

      She didn’t tell airport security, she put it in the restroom for handicapped and told the other cleaners about it. So how could anyone claim it? She stole it, she should be punished. But not for life.

  • Taking home some kilograms of gold can only be defined as stupid. She does deserve some years in prison, but for life is too much.

    The other problem is, I guess, the cleaners have no instructions by their superiors, on what to do if some special case happens. Typically China.

    An lastly, why would they take the whole family to the police station? You can’t arrest just anyone, because he was nearby a suspect of a crime. China….

  • nemo

    unjust laws pick on the poor. The Chinese officials dare to call themselves civilized? This is injustice.

  • fireworks

    The poor cleaner should have handed over the box to the lost property section of the airport.

    Since she unwittingly took it home and also return it when the cops went looking for it. She should be given a pardon. She was harmless.

  • Not Found

    Well, another sad story yet so normal here. Poor her, next time when you pick up some shit from the ground, make sure not to forget to turn in to the government!

  • it is very unfair. but if you picked up a 14kg box and think it is trash, why not look inside first?

  • i see someone leave something behind. I take it, notice it’s heavy and think its a battery. It turns out it is/looks like gold jewelry. That belongs to the person who left it and i happen to work for the place they lost it in. I split it with a person, contemplate giving it to people, and take it home. That is stealing.

  • Fike2308

    Finders Keepers!

  • danni

    Life is too harsh but she should be punished. She should have handed it in. These people are employed to serve the airport’s passengers not steal from them. Knowing her low social status and the risk she faces of prosecution taking it home was a foolish thing to do. It’s obvious that someone would report that missing.

  • oreo

    so let me get this straight.
    The bum who does street racing going at a speed over 100 mph, runs over and kills someone only get’s around 3 years in prison, yet some simple Airport cleaner who finds 3 million dollars worth of jewelry because some moron decides to leave it in a luggage cart, gets caught with it, and returns it to the police no questions asked with every thing still in the box, and she gets a life sentence in prison? Okay…just wtf.
    China must got some kind of justice system. If that were me I would’ve fucking blown the top.

  • Jam

    Now this shows that the judicial system lacks integrity. I am sure they are not well trained at all. If the story given is really true, the lady does not even deserve as little as a suspension. She was so open and even told everyone about the box. If it was theft, she would not have told everyone. This is just common sense that that judges lack. A thief can never behave the way she did. Poor old lady! Until China wakes up to a good clear government system, i am worried the lay man is still suffering.

  • AsianInCA

    They should get all the government officials that embezzle any amount of money and give them the death sentence!!!!! Damn Chinese Officials, so selfish and have no idea what Civic Duty is. They’re all ASSHOLES!!!!!

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