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Seven-year imprisonment for violent wage defaulters


09:39, January 23, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Employers who refuse to pay employee salaries by threatening to use or actually using violence may face imprisonment of up to seven years, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) revealed on Tuesday.

China's Criminal Law stipulates that wage defaulters could be sentenced to three to seven years in prison if the dishonor has result in "serious consequences," which, however, are not specified in the law.

A judicial interpretation published Tuesday by the SPC defines that the employer's using violence or threatening to do so over unpaid wages is one of the "serious consequences."

Migrant laborers are particularly prone to intended delay or refusal of wage payment at the end of the year when they want their hard-earned money back before returning home.

According to the judicial interpretation, if an employers' dishonorable act is considered to involve a comparatively large amount of money but does not constituent a "serious consequence," the guilty party could be sentenced to imprisonment or detention of no more than three years.

The "comparatively large amount of money" generally refers to at least 5,000 yuan (804 U.S. dollars) in three-month salary to one employee, it said.

Due to different economic and social development conditions, local courts could implement their own standards regarding the amount of money within the 5,000-20,000-yuan range set by the SPC, according to the interpretation.

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