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Honor amongst thieves

A phone thief moved netizens by handwriting 11 pages of phone numbers

11·25·2013

Honor amongst thieves

A phone thief moved netizens by handwriting 11 pages of phone numbers

11·25·2013

A thief in Hunan province has been crowned “China’s most ethical thief” by Chinese netizens. The thief remains anonymous, and has not been found. His “kind deed” has gone viral all over Chinese social media, winning him the praise as “the industry’s conscience!” (业界良心).

The victim, Zou Bing (pseudonym) told the story to Xiangxiao Morning Herald, of how his phone got stolen, what he did to try to retrieve it, and what the thief did in return:

“On the ride back from Yiyang to Changsha, Zou Bing’s cellphone was stolen. He sent his phone a text, asking the thief to mail his phone back. To his surprise, he did get a package a couple of days later. Although there was no cellphone in it, he was astounded by the items sent over: aside from his SIM card, it included 11 pieces of paper, on which were scribbled all the contacts and phone numbers in his contact list, over 1000 of them.”

handwritten numbers

Zou remembers that the thief sat next to him in a van. He soon dozed off,  waking to find that his iPhone4 had disappeared. Instead of phoning the police (the chance of getting it back was slim), he sent a text to threaten the thief that said, “I know you were the guy who sat next to me. Don’t worry, I’ll find you. Flip through the numbers in my phone, and you’ll know what I do. If you know well enough, mail my phone to this address.”

Of course, Zou was only bluffing; he is only a bartender. Though he didn’t retrieve his phone, he was still glad that he retrieved the phone numbers: “just writing from 1 to 1000 alone takes a long time, let alone all the names and series of digits! His hand must have gotten swollen because of all the copying down.”

Though this particular thief may not have been a professional pickpocket, pickpocketing is a common and serious problem in China. And this story stirred much online debate, particularly as it brings up bitter memories for people who have had their wallet or phone stolen.

熙阿大只有前从: that guy who stole my phone, look at this dude!!! The text I sent you was so sincere, but you never replied!!

控控_永远死不了的死团子: …. Thought contact lists could be exported and printed out?

陳家大肉包: Conscience of this trade! Why have I never encountered a thief that was this nice?

kxjhk: My screen is filled with “industry conscience”, the IQ of the Heavenly Kingdom is negative.

 

Image courtesy of Apple101.