Featured on Chinese Radio – Laptop Stolen

In china business by Michael Michelini9 Comments

Yesterday was invited to a special dinner party for a radio show. The radio show showcases new restaurants in the area and takes guests to rate the food and atmosphere. I was the only foreigner (white guy) in a table of 12 or so. The owner / manager of the restaurant was also there. I took my laptop bag with me, as I was not planning to go back to the office afterwards. I put the laptop bag behind my chair. At the end of dinner, around 7pm, the restaurant was much busier…and I noticed my bag was gone. The group helped me a lot, found witnesses proving my laptop bag was there.

pulled video tapes, called police. A friend took a photo of me in the police car (above) and he got chased by the police – as its banned in china. Ran a police report, but got a bit nervous telling police what I’m doing in China, where I live, didn’t have a passport on me, but the driver’s license got by. After filing the report, went back to the restaurant to bargain.

Taxi back to the restaurant, they apologized, but I wanted a financial compensation. After some bargaining, I said my laptop was 8000 chinese yuan (approx 1200usd), so they offered me 2000rmb (approx 300usd). I said at least 50% should be paid, since it was at their place of business. They then claimed that there are postings stating you are responsible for your own goods there, but because I am a foreigner, and that I was a guest of the radio station – they agreed to 50% – or 4000rmb.

Everyone could not believe I actually got an financial compensation from the restaurant. Because I am a white guy, as well as it was a special event, probably is why I received any cash. As I am told, if I were a local chinese, I would not receive anything and be blamed for being careless.

I know if this happened in USA, I would not receive anything from the restaurant. Now I am typing this blog entry on a new laptop I bought with the 4000 cash. Its a smaller laptop, but gets me by. Will use it mainly for browsing, email, and chat anyway.

Thanks Chinese restaurant. Friends!

Follow up, March 17, 2012
A blog reader sent me an interesting email about filing a Chinese police report

Good afternoon Michael and sorry to bother you.

I am interested in your online blog about your unfortunate incident regarding your lap top, it was nice to hear that you got some form of compensation though in a very tough country.

The reason for me email is as follows, Can you advise where on your police report do they state your name, only I have several reports of fake police reports being sent to validate claims, as I cannot read Chinese it is difficult to spot.

Also would the Chinese police write a name in English or would it be in Chinese?

I hope you can assist and look forward to hearing from you.

– Matthew

To answer Matthew’s question, Amy Gu my assistant checked into seeing if a foreigner can have his/her english name on the Chinese police report.

You can find the name of the person who called 110 ( police station) in the police report, pls check it in the attachment.

Nantou Policewoman said they could put the English name in the police report if the foreigner brings his passport to the police station and tells policeman what happens.

Amy even highlighted / pointed out in the attachment to the right where the name would be on the Chinese police report.

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  1. Hi,happened to be here.Nice blog.

    Greeting from Shenzhen.^^

  2. thanks – good to meet you in Shenzhen!

    great to be here in china too

  3. crazy dude.. hope you didn't loose much of anything of importance. the split cost of the laptop is only not much of anything, hopefully you back up like i do. Here is a video I saw today and thought of you, hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I do and ask your friends about it. Apparently its some chinese translation.

    (video not working any more)

  4. damn…..china government blocks youtube.com – gotta get a proxy to watch this, thanks bro

  5. hey you are a lucky guy. and proved” everything is possible” again. i also got compensation when nobody believe i can do it. but i am not so lucky like you,it took me around two months.sometimes we just have usage mind when we meet this kind of stuff.we do not believe we can get reasonable responses,just we give up to try. so whatever we meet,do it. do not give up.even if we get nothing back,at least we tried and do our best. anyway,be carefull next time.

  6. thanks Echo,
    yes, I feel very lucky to have received any compensation! It is hard to believe actually.

    Be careful next time! seems many chinese here think foreigners are careless. I have heard from many of my chinese friends here that white people seem to leave their possessions out to be stolen much more easily. Anyway, yes I am not thinking a lot more and how lucky that its just a laptop and not my passport or wallet.

    take each day as a lesson learned

  7. be careful is not mean the foreigners are careless,you are misunderstanding. From the year 2004 to 2006,i lost mobile phone every year and one wallet with id card,cash,bank card… on the bus.it is complicated to get new one. and now,when i was on the bus,i can not let my bad out of my eyes.

    you are right,it is a lesson learned.

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