Chinese Shoplifting Torture

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They may be embarrassed, but they still have hands.

At A&N Food Market in Queens, they punish shoplifters by fining them $400 — or taking their picture, labeling it "Big Thief," and posting it on the wall. The practice is imported from China, where storekeepers go by the motto “Steal one, fine 10,” the Times reports. But while the pay-or-be-shamed method probably discourages A&N's clientele from slipping a frozen jellied eel or a live fish down their pants, it also may be illegal in New York.

“If a store owner says he’ll call the police unless you pay up, that’s extortion, that’s illegal,” said Steven Wong, a community advocate in Chinatown, sitting in his office above a restaurant on Chatham Square. “And putting up pictures in public, calling someone a thief who has never even been formally charged, that’s a violation of their civil rights.”

Well. If he thinks that's bad, he shouldn't ever try shoplifting at a store owned by people from Northern Nigeria.

Stores’ Treatment of Shoplifters Tests Legal Rights [NYT]