On October 17, a 48-year-old Briton was sentenced to 5 months detention, with a 6 month suspended sentence, in a Guangzhou court for the crime of leaving his wife in the UK and living as a married couple with his Chinese business partner, Luo Ting; who was also sentenced to 4 months detention.
The British man, whom China.org.cn called “Jerry” (a pseudonym), met “Luo Ting” (also a pseudonym) in 2005, after coming to Guangzhou on business. His wife, “Marry [sic]”, in the UK grew suspicious in 2006 when she found intimate pictures and wedding ceremony photos of Luo and Jerry.
Most surprisingly for the court decision, Luo and Jerry had never officially registered for marriage in China; they were found guilty due to the fact that they lived together and addressed each other as husband and wife.
On March 2012, Marry came to Guangzhou and filed charges against the couple.
The Yuexiu district procuratorate found that the 48-year-old Briton had been married to the plaintiff in Britain since Aug. 24, 1991. Although she knew this, Luo lived with Jerry and the couple addressed each other as husband and wife. In the second half of 2006, Jerry and Luo held wedding ceremony and made their relations public.
On Feb. 26, 2013, Jerry and Luo surrendered to the police.
According to Chinese Law, having prior knowledge of a partner’s previous marriage qualifies as bigamy, and carries a maximum two-year sentence. Yuexiu Court gave the couple a mitigated punishment because they voluntarily surrendered themselves.
Jerry said he has always respected Chinese laws. He thought he hadn’t broken the law because they hadn’t registered for marriage in China. He said he would marry Luo after negotiating a divorce in Britain.
“I’m not just having an affair. I really love Luo Ting. Many foreigners have taken Chinese girls but not married them. I don’t think I should act in that way.”