Is this punishment too extreme? Is China such a safe place that jail space is well used in this way?
BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese man has been jailed for four years for robbing two 12-year-old boys of the equivalent of seven U.S. cents, after a court decided his "outrageous" crime deserved a harsh penalty, the Beijing News said on Tuesday.
Li Fushou, 20, robbed the pupils last March as they left their primary school in Huadu, a suburb of Guangzhou, capital city of the southern Guangdong province, the newspaper said.
"He dragged them into an alley and demanded 20 yuan ($2.6) as a fee to join a gang, threatening to beat them with a bicycle lock if they did not comply," it said.
Li, who was convicted of robbery and also fined 1,000 yuan, found 0.5 yuan on the boys after subjecting them to a body search, the Beijing News said.
"He picked on the defenseless pupils because he himself is skinny," it added.
"Li should be seriously punished for targeting young students," it quoted the court as saying.