With car-sharing services booming in China, more city residents are becoming used to using this efficient transport method for their daily commute. Some people, however, use shared cars in their own selfish way.
In the first case of its kind, an 18-year-old security guard from Beijing surnamed Bao was recently sentenced to three years and three months in jail and fined 3,000 yuan (500 U.S. dollars), after it was discovered earlier this year that he illegally "owned" a shared car.
Bao confessed that he took the key of a shared car parked near where he was working, with the window half open. He scratched out the car's QR code so that no one else could scan it to use the vehicle. Bao then used the car as if it was his own for three days.
The court elevated Bao's crime to that of larceny and handed down a jail sentence with an immediate effect.
According to The Beijing News, a variety of car-sharing platforms and operators have sprung up across the country in recent years, and some forty of them have become popular. More than 95 percent of shared cars are said to be new energy vehicles, among a total number of roughly 40,000.
As one of the latest forms of the sharing economy business model, both in China and around the globe, car-sharing services have played an important role in offering an alternative for urban commuting. However, it is still a developing market and more standardized guidelines need to be in place for people to follow.