Shao Xun on trial in Beijing
A 42-year-old Chinese entrepreneur stood trial in Beijing yesterday for taking part in 10 robberies in Russia 18 years ago, including the well-known "Trans-Siberian Train Robbery" in 1993, a Beijing newspaper reported.
Prosecutors said the suspect, Shao Xun, a Shanghai native, went to Moscow in 1992 to sell down-padded jackets.
Shao said he was firstly robbed there in January 1993 and the robbers forced him to provide contacts of other people he knew, thus he changed from a victim to a gangster.
Prosecutors said Shao participated in 10 robberies between March and May, 1993 and robbed US$21,800, over 500,000 rubles (US$15,784) and 7,600 yuan (US$1,203) in cash as well as gold rings, necklaces and watches.
In his last criminal act, Shao and his girlfriend surnamed Yuan invited two Chinese men to dinner in his rented apartment and informed the robbers. Shao pretended to be a victim, the prosecutors learned.
Shao returned to China after the train robbery and travelled around some cities in southern Guangdong Province to do business. He bought a fake ID in 2005 and changed his name to Lin Yonghai. Three years ago, he opened a company in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and got married there. He is now the father of a one-year-old son.
Shao was captured on August 28 last year in Nanning while he was organizing a charity event. Shao's lawyer, Jiang Ying, told the court that Shao's company had donated more than 1 million yuan to charity and he was honored by the city's authorities.
Shao said he could not remember things that happened 18 years ago clearly, but he admitted to the charges and said he would take any punishment to pay for his sins.
The Beijing News said more than 60 criminals involved in robberies in Russia 18 years ago had been sentenced. Thirty-one of them were given death or life imprisonment.
The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday, but the prosecutors suggested a lenient sentence for Shao, the report said.