Two Teens Steal Electrical Cables To Fund Gaming Habit

There's no doubt that China is currently going through an industrial revolution of sorts right now. Pretty much in every city in the country is undergoing a construction boom. Taking advantage of the this "boom", two teenagers in east China's Jiangsu province stole over 300m of construction grade electrical cable to fund their gaming habit. first reported that on the morning of April 27, electrical wire and cables were stolen from a special economic zone construction site in Jiangsu province's Suqian city. The wires weren't just laying out and about for anyone to take. According to police, the wires were situated on poles about two to three-stories tall. The theft bought the construction project to a halt.

After a series of investigations, police discovered that the theft was perpetrated by two young people with an affinity for online gaming. The two suspects, 16-year-old Hu and 17-year-old Li, were detained by police soon after. It's unclear how police came to the conclusion that it was Hu and Li but the duo confessed to the crime.

According to, Hu says he wanted some extra money to spend on online games and general websurfing. Hu met Li at an internet cafe and the two concocted a plan to steal electrical cables, cables used for telecommunications, electricity and various other infrastructure needs.

The duo determined that the longer the wire the more money they would receive. Thus they decided to attack Suqian's new special economic zone.

Once their target was determined the duo set out to execute their plan. Police said what the duo did was particularly dangerous. Supposedly Hu would climb one two-story pole while Li climbed another. Once atop the poles, of the two would cut the wire at one end and swing it over to the other. Then after receiving the wire, one half of the duo would wrap the wire across their body and slowly climb down and move onto the next wire. The reason they didn't just cut the wires between, say two poles, is because the wires falling down would cause a lot of noise and because the longer the wire the more money it is worth. Police said the duo risked more than just falling to their deaths, they also risked death by electrocution if the wires were "live".

Unfortunately for the construction company, when police found Hu and Li, they had already sold off the wires and spent the profits on online games. While Hu and Li were correct on their assumption that electrical cables were worth money, according the police, Hu and Li didn't exactly know how much it was worth — they completely undersold their loot.

[为筹钱上网打游戏 两少年爬高塔吊盗窃电缆] [ via People's Daily]


    Not surprised. I worked for a while in the Clarence Valley and copper wire theft is a huge problem there because addicts use it to to buy crystal meth. Not a huge stretch for game addicts with little normal income to resort to this.

    Last edited 07/05/13 11:15 pm

    Reminds me of a story my dad told me once about a friend of his who salvaged about a 1km of abandoned copper cable. Turns out it was actually some guys phone line.

    He never went back that way after he found out what he'd done. There was a big fight between the guy and Telstra (Telecom in those days) over who should replace it. Considering as part of his contract included line rental he claimed Telstra owned it and should have protected it better. He won the case too, after Telstra investigated him for fraud.

      Copper is SERIOUSLY expensive these days. I've got a tech buddy who only a couple years ago reckoned techs were adding up to an extra digit to their annual pay just salvaging copper on any decommission jobs they were doing. Having worked there, from what I know of it, it wouldn't have taken the big T long to figure out this was happening and implement a control policy though.

        I believe my story happened in the early eighties.

          The guys I knew who were knocking about were hoarding stuff in at least 2005. Which is actually longer ago than I realized or am comfortable with. In those days some of the techs were talking about saving up for their own fibre-optic cable-splicing gear/vans, which at the time were hundreds of thousands but were also a license to print money.

    These things happen all around the world yet I hear a lot about it happening in China? Perhaps due to the link to games?

      I'm guessing its a mix of things.

      1. Asia has high pressure on kids. Makes them depressed and look for escapes.
      2. Internet and gaming very new and is taking off very fast
      3. There are alot of popular games with freemium model. This has a tendency to let people on the edge slip very far off
      4. So many people in China =\

    "It’s unclear how police came to the conclusion that it was Hu and Li but the duo confessed to the crime."

    Given China's attitude toward law enforcement and human rights, I'm not especially confident that the teens actually DID steal the cable... just that they confessed to it. That said, if they did it, I'd put money on them getting snitched out by someone in the net cafe.

    Last edited 08/05/13 11:55 am

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