Tuesday, November 2, 2021

But she said she loved me

Global Military Justice Reform contributor Peter Lamont sends (and this link):

From the “But She Told Me She Loved Me” file comes this sad tale reported in August, 2021 by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China.

Two enterprising young women, Ms. Li and Ms. Ge, purchased military beds, uniforms, and other military items and arranged to rent a house that they decorated to resemble a military dormitory. Pretending to be soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army themselves they struck up romantic relationships with a total of 9 active servicemen over a period of a year, and convinced them to pay the women more than 250,000 yuan (about US$39,000) because family members were said to be ill.

While apparently an ordinary case of fraud or false pretences, both were convicted of the crime of pretending to be a soldier and bluffing. Pretending to be a soldier in order to bluff and deceive is a crime contrary to Art. 372 of the Chinese Criminal Law. So dressing up in a military uniform to avoid a speeding ticket, get priority boarding on an airplane, or even just to impress your future in-laws is an offence. The crime attracts a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment, but in serious cases the penalty is a minimum of three and maximum of ten years in prison.

Li and Ge were sentenced to 6 years and 5 years respectively. Said the Supreme People’s Procuratorate “this [conduct] not only violated the victim’s property rights, but also damaged the prestige of the army and interfered with the normal activities of the army… Pretending to be a soldier not only damaged the legitimate rights and interests of the victims but also affected the society’s trust in soldiers and the army, which in turn harms the interests of national defense and military security.”

The case of Li and Ge was one of seven cases reported on by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate that were said to be “typical cases of crimes that violated the legitimate rights and interests of military personnel and endangered the interests of national defense.” It seems that it was these factors that put the case in the serious category and justified the sentencing premium. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate also said the case called for both military and civilian authorities to pay attention to “the dating and love issues of active servicemen of the appropriate age.”

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