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Ex hoops star jailed after jewelry store robbery

Ex hoops star jailed after jewelry store robbery

Tsai Yu-feng, a former high school basketball star, has been sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for smashing a jewelry store display case and running off with one kilogram of gold jewelry. After the robbery Tsai fled with his girl friend to Hong Kong, where he fenced the jewelry for about NT$1.5 million. The couple then went gambling in Macau and traveled in Guangdong before returning to Taiwan, where they were arrested on arrival.

33-year-old Tsai, who is 185 cm tall and weighs about 100 kg, rented a storefront in Taichung’s Fengchia Night Market for many years, selling clothing. At one time his monthly income reportedly reached some NT$300,000 and he led a lavish lifestyle, often traveling abroad and wearing designer clothes and apparel. In the past years his business gradually declined in recent years and he tried various jobs.

In the evening of July 14 this year Tsai rode a stolen motorcycle to a jewelry store in Miaoli’s Toufen township, where he brandish a toy gun to scare the shop owner, then used a hammer to crack open a glass display cabinet. He grabbed more than 10 gold items weighing nearly a kilogram, then went to a nearby market to change clothes and make his escape.

Tsai and his girlfriend returned to Taiwan July 29, still carrying NT$420,000 of the money received for the stolen jewelry. They were arrested and Tsai quickly admitted having committed the robbery. He was tried and convicted of larceny in Miaoli District Court and sentenced to 8-1/2 years in prison.