Convicted of theft for picking up abandoned OBike

So I had a bunch of abandoned O Bikes around my house, basically rusted out junk, and at first I didn’t know about the OBike issue so I attempted to use the service as normal. When I tried to scan the QR code it pointed to a website that didn’t work. So I did some searching and it turns out the company had gone bust. So I wrongly assumed that since the company is bust and that these are abandoned I could just go use it. So I took a grinder and cut the locking unit off and rode around town with it. I was pulled over at the end of July by a cop who basically told me it was theft. I was taken to the station and charged with “aggravated theft” (because anytime a tool was used, no matter if it’s a screw driver or a grinder, it becomes aggravated). I was taken to the prosecutor who released me after asking if I admit guilt.

So a month ago I received a notice that the prosecutor intends to go with summary judgment. It didn’t say much except a summary of the offense and that the prosecutor felt it is appropriate to seek summary judgment.

Today I received the verdict. I was sentenced to 6 months, which can be commuted if I pay a fine of 1000nt per day. It listed the nature of the offense and that the judge felt since I had no criminal history and admitted guilt, that they were willing to sentence me to the most lenient punishment the law allows (which for aggravated theft, is 6 months), and that can be commuted with a fine, to serve as a warning and to allow me a fresh start.

I’m unfamiliar with judicial procedure in Taiwan, and I really don’t know what I need to do at this point. I read that you have to go to the prosecutor’s office and ask to pay a fine to commute the sentence, and that if you can’t pay the fine you can ask if you can do community service instead.

I do not have money for a lawyer and I need to know what I should be doing at this point. Who do I ask for at the prosecutor’s office (it’s a huge complex), and what documents do I need to prove that I do not have a steady income? How do you prove that you don’t have an income? I really can’t afford 180,000NT and I much rather pick up cigarette butts all day than go to jail.

I don’t think this was you, I think this was your “my friend”.

I think you may ask it to the prosecutor’s office, or a lawyer.

You could ask to any person at the prosecutor’s office where you should go, and the person would tell you where you should go.

If you want to talk to a lawyer, LAF provides a legal counseling for free.
https://www.laf.org.tw/en/

2 Likes

Wow, thats ridiculous for stealing a O bike…

3 Likes

Sorry to hear that! “Aggravated theft” sounds a little over the top.
Does the company still owe you your deposit?
Maybe you could try to reduce the sentencing to something like circumventing a charging system. Did you really take possession of the bike like bringing it up to your home, or just use it in a manner it was meant to be, except for breaking the lock?
Hope it it will turn out not this harsh for you.

1 Like

This is an interesting case for several reasons. You admit guilt, yet it’s plausible that you had no criminal intent. If the company is bankrupt, who actually owns the rusting bikes is a good question. If you have no stable income, you might qualify as officially “pitiable” in accordance with Art. 59 or even Art. 61 of the Criminal Code (i.e. there isn’t actually a minimum punishment). I think you should have sought a lawyer sooner, but it’s all spilled milk if you don’t want to appeal.

For the record, the “aggravated” part (not sure whose translation that is) appears to be Art. 321 Par. 1 Subpar. 2: not using a tool per se, but damaging a “protective feature”.

12 Likes

Might be a good time to consider teh old country again.

The fine seems way over the top.

3 Likes

Actually according to the document, it’s subpart 3, using a “weapon”.

And this is not the first time it was used. Plenty of old folks collecting scrap gets hit with subpart 3 when they disassembled an “abandoned” scrap with a screwdriver too.

I was basically caught riding the bike so it looked to them that I was stealing it.

And what would a lawyer do? LAF lawyers don’t seem all that helpful and I’d have to prove income for them to represent me. Then again if I got a lawyer to appeal it, I might as well pay the fine because the lawyer could end up costing the same.

180k for picking up a rusting Obike?? Jesus Christ, you’d get a smaller fine for selling spring onion pancakes made using motor oil.
I hope you’ll find a way to reach a more reasonable resolution, this is madness.

Now I understand why no one is touching the abandoned Obikes laying next to some rice fields in Yilan, no wonder all the recycle ahma/ahbei don’t touch them.

8 Likes

I wonder why the powers that be care about abandoned Obikes.

11 Likes

I remember reading an article where the city is cleaning them up and selling for scrap to cover the cost. Obike is bankrupt and can not pay the fine for the cleanup.

2 Likes

I guess you don’t get to ride around on the city’s dime.

Yea, I didn’t get the memo it seems. And cops don’t care if you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to touch them.

Their still active gps is probably being used by the CCP to spy on us…
#exposed

2 Likes

Wow I remember reading an article a couples years ago of big. companies being fined 200k for knowingly selling expired foods for years. They only get a slap on the wrist compared to Taiwan Luthiers

1 Like

The law wasn’t created to apply to Obikes, it just happens to apply.
As hordes of FNGs have discovered over the years, you can’t just grab an abandoned scooter and get it fixed up and ride it, either, even if it’s been sitting for a year or more.
Vehicle theft laws are ridiculously detailed and specific, and are, unlike other areas, exhaustively enforced.
This is pretty much a matter of necessity, because Taiwan.

I’m sorry brother @TL got dinged, it was pretty short minded to think it would be fine to just grab one and use it, hindsight notwithstanding.

1 Like

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse” is pretty standard practice in any country, bro.

1 Like

Thats twice the going rate for Drunk driving!

1 Like

Not that they made a new law, but someone at some point must have said “watch out for guys riding abandoned Obikes”