Man in China jailed for stealing $5,200 from newlyweds and giving some back as 'loan' to groom

Man steals S$5,200 in wedding gift money and then loaned the groom some of the stolen cash before joining the reception.

A man in China has been jailed for almost two years after stealing thousands of dollars intended for a classmate as a wedding gift.

The man, surnamed Song, from Shaanxi province in northwestern China, was sentenced on May 30, to one year and nine months in prison and fined 3,000 yuan for stealing 25,000 yuan (S$5,200) from one of his classmates surnamed Zhou.

Zhou’s wedding dinner was being held at a local hotel, but before it began, Song turned up unexpectedly at Zhou’s house instead. While there Song entered the bedroom of Zhou’s father without anyone noticing.

Song locked the door and began rifling through the contents of the room before he noticed a wardrobe with a locked drawer. He forced open the drawer and found a substantial amount of money intended as a wedding gift for the couple.

Song split the money, and hid 3,700 yuan in a box near the balcony of the bedroom, before leaving the bedroom with the rest of the money.

He then travelled to the hotel for the wedding banquet with Zhou’s family. Song gave 500 yuan of the stolen cash to the newlyweds as a wedding gift. He later posed as a generous friend by lending 5,000 yuan, also using the stolen money, to Zhou.

After the wedding Song continued to spend the money he had stolen and tried to maintain the illusion he was using his own money.

Police arrested the man on the same night as the wedding reception. Photo: Weibo

Later that night, Song was arrested by local police.

It was revealed that Song had a previous criminal record and had twice been sent to prison, once for a 10-month sentence in 2018 and again for one year in 2020.

The story has captivated mainland Chinese social media. Many could not understand why Song would risk prison by stealing such a small amount of money from an acquaintance in such an obvious fashion.

One Weibo user said: “What did he think? Steal the money from his classmate, then lend the money back to him and no one would notice?”

Another quipped: “It was really embarrassing. From now on, it’s probable that Song will live like he has no classmates or friends.”

“Couldn’t he earn 25,000 yuan in a year and nine months? Now, he is in prison,” said another.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.