British man sentenced for bigamy in Guangzhou

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A foreign citizen was sentenced for bigamy in Guangzhou for the first time on Oct. 17.

Jerry and Luo Ting (r) were found guilty of bigamy at Yuexiu Court.

The man, named Jerry, married his Chinese business partner (Luo Ting), and had two children, despite having a wife (Marry) and four children in the UK. The two were found guilty of bigamy at Yuexiu Court. (All the names are pseudonyms.)

Jerry was sentenced to 5 months detention with a suspended sentence of 6 months and Luo was given 4 months with a suspended sentence of 5 months.

Jerry married in the UK over 20 years ago. The couple had four children. Jerry fell in love with his Chinese business partner Luo Ting immediately after he arrived in Guangzhou on business in September 2005.

Marry grew suspicious in October 2006, when Jerry went back to Britain for holiday. She found intimate pictures and wedding photos of Luo and her husband. After the couple had a terrible fight, Jerry flew back to Guangzhou.

On March 2012, Marry came to Guangzhou and filed charges against the couple.

The Yuexiu district procuratorate found that the 48-year-old Briton had been married to the plaintiff in Britain since Aug. 24, 1991. Although she knew this, Luo lived with Jerry and the couple addressed each other as husband and wife. In the second half of 2006, Jerry and Luo held wedding ceremony and made their relations public.

On Feb. 26, 2013, Jerry and Luo surrendered to the police.

According to Chinese Law, having prior knowledge of a partner's previous marriage qualifies as bigamy, and carries a maximum two-year sentence. Yuexiu Court gave the couple a mitigated punishment because they voluntarily surrendered themselves.

Jerry said he has always respected Chinese laws. He thought he hadn’t broken the law because they hadn’t registered for marriage in China. He said he would marry Luo after negotiating a divorce in Britain.

"I'm not just having an affair. I really love Luo Ting. Many foreigners have taken Chinese girls but not married them. I don't think I should act in that way."

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