Reward incentive on lost property

Updated: 2012-02-18 08:03

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - People who find money or lost property would have to be rewarded when they handed it in if proposals by the city government are adopted.

The public security bureau of the Guangdong provincial capital has drafted regulations that require owners of lost property or cash to pay finders 10 percent of its value if they hand it in to police or relevant departments.

The proposed regulations have been posted on the websites of the Guangzhou bureau and Guangdong provincial department of public security to seek public opinion.

According to the draft regulations, city residents must hand in any money or other items they pick up in public places to police to help them seek the owners.

If the owners cannot be traced, the relevant authorities are still required to award the finders 10 percent of the property's value after it has been sold by public auction.

The draft regulations state that after receiving the lost property, the local police station will issue a lost-and-found announcement and wait 15 days. If no one claims the property, the police station will deliver it to the bureau of public security at the district and county level. After 30 days without a claim, the property will be delivered to the municipal public security body and kept for 90 days. If still unclaimed, the property will be auctioned.

The income from the sale, less the finder's fee, will go to local public finances.

A Guangzhou bureau of public security official said the 10 percent reward would encourage more people not to keep the money or property they found.

But while Ge Hongyi, dean of law at the Guangzhou-based South China University of Technology, agreed the obligatory reward was an incentive, he added that the proposed regulation would not have any legal binding.

"It is actually a matter of morals," Ge said on Tuesday.

"Government departments and non-government organizations should do more to praise and promote the good people and good deeds," he said.

Peng Peng, a senior researcher with Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said rewarding the finders of lost property was also in keeping with Chinese tradition.

Many foreign countries and regions also have legislation to reward lost property finders, he added.

In Germany, finders get 5 percent of the property's value while in Japan they get up to 20 percent.

However, Guangzhou's proposal has split opinion among local residents.

Wang Chengbang, a white -collar worker, said people should be paid if they found lost property, or few would bother to hand it in.

"Society is now a market economy," he said.

But Lao Yushan, a retired worker, said the reward proposal indicated that morals had deteriorated.

"Shouldn't the finders hand in the property without having to be rewarded?" he asked.

In an online poll of 2,000 city residents, more than 70 percent of the respondents said they were in favor of the draft regulations, while 21 percent were against.