The People's Procuratorate of Shenzhen City in south China said Friday it would not prosecute an airport cleaner who "picked up" a box containing 3 million yuan worth of gold jewelry last December.
The decision was made after the procuratorate concluded that Liang Li, 40, committed embezzlement rather than theft after taking home the box from the Shenzhen airport.
The agency said it had no sufficient evidence to charge Liang with theft.
It is up to the owner of the box, a jewelry company employee surnamed Wang, whether to bring charges against the cleaner.
Liang could be fined and jailed for two to five years if convicted of embezzlement.
If she were convicted of theft, she could face life imprisonment given the value of the jewelry.
Surveillance camera footage showed that Wang left the small cardboard box on top of a luggage chart unattended at around 8 a.m. on Dec. 9. A minute later Liang carried the box to a lady's toilet room. Wang found the box had gone after returning back four minutes later and reported to the police.
Liang told two co-workers, surnamed Ma and Cao, that she found a heavy box. Ma and Cao, with Liang's consent, opened the box and each took a package of jewelry, the procuratorate said.
Liang later had one piece of jewelry confirmed as gold at a jewelry store.
She took home the box at around 2 p.m. and put it under the bed. She also put some jewelry into's her husband's pockets.
Liang was informed by her co-worker at 4 p.m. that a passenger lost a box of jewelry and had called the police.
Police came to Liang's home at 6 p.m. and asked her whether she had took a box home. Liang had not admitted until the police spotted the box under the bed.
The case sparked heated debate as to whether Liang had "stolen" the jewelry.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2009)