A man in China has been sentenced to seven years in jail for setting internet equipment ablaze after becoming enraged over a slow connection.

The man, surnamed Lan, was at an internet cafe in southern Guangxi province last June when his frustration with the connection speed spilled over.

He responded by destroying a public box containing optical fibre network cables, a local court said in a statement on Monday.

The court said the man “used a lighter to set a napkin he had on him on fire, then burned down a telecommunications box at a traffic intersection”.

The fire caused nearly 4,000 households and offices, including a public hospital, to lose internet access for 28 to 50 hours.

“After the incident, public security officials seized Lan’s instrument of crime – a lighter,” according to the court in Cenxi, a small mountain city.

Lan was later hit with a seven-year jail term for “destroying public telecommunications facilities”.

The story prompted widespread ridicule on the Chinese internet, with one Weibo user calling the man a “big baby”.

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