Pickpocketing is a major issue in a lot of places, and China is no different. Crack open any Chinese travel guide and there will be whole sections dedicated to techniques to prevent pickpocketing—however, there doesn't seem to be any guides on what to do when reverse pickpocketing occurs.
In Yiwu, Zhejiang province, police were called to the local produce market Sunday morning to stop two men from fighting. The two, a Mr. Leung and a Mr. Wei, were trading blows over what appeared to be a failed pickpocketing attempt.
Leung was shopping around the market and had taken his iPhone out to check the time. Then he returned it to his pocket and carried on with his shopping. At one point, he reached into his pocket again, only to find that his phone was gone. Instead of freaking out, like most people would, Leung was unphased—the iPhone that he was carrying was a cheap imitation.
As Leung was leaving the market, he was bumped into by a man and he noticed a hand in his pocket—Wei's hand. Wei had stolen Leung's fake iPhone and was trying to place it back into Leung's pocket.
Leung at first wanted Wei to apologize and admit to the theft, and then call everything even, considering no one was hurt. Wei on the other hand denied any wrongdoing. Then, the two started a fight.
When the police arrived they questioned both men. In the end, they found that Wei had a record for pickpocketing smartphones in the area. Wei said that he saw Leung with his phone and followed him for a bit. When he took the phone, he realized it was fake and thought that it was worthless so he tried to return it.
"The phone was a cheap knockoff! It's worth nothing," said Wei. "How dare he walk around with a poor imitation?"
Wei, according to the police, was unashamed of his actions and is sitting in detention.
小偷偷到山寨iPhone嫌差 塞回失主口袋时被抓 [People's Daily]