2 sus­pected of bilk­ing fugi­tive out of 20m yuan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS -

China’s most-wanted fugi­tive Guo Wen­gui was cheated out of 20 mil­lion yuan ($2.9 mil­lion) by two fraud­sters, one of them pre­tend­ing to be a rel­a­tive of se­nior of­fi­cials and pos­ing as a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cer, po­lice said.

The other fraud­ster used a shell com­pany to do his cheat­ing, po­lice said.

The two sus­pects, Zhao Lixin and Ge Changzhong, were de­tained by po­lice on fraud charges in June. Song Jun, the in­ter­me­di­ary be­tween Guo and the two men, also was ar­rested in June in a sep­a­rate case in­volv­ing sus­pected per­sonal in­for­ma­tion in­fringe­ment.

Guo, the “ac­tual con­trol­ling share­holder” of Beijing Pangu Investment and Beijing Zenith Hold­ings, fled China un­der sus­pi­cion of mul­ti­ple crimes in Au­gust 2014 and is listed un­der an In­ter­pol “red no­tice” for wanted fugi­tives.

Zhao, 50, was liv­ing in the south­ern city of Shen­zhen when he was con­tacted in May 2015 by Song, who for­merly worked in civil avi­a­tion.

Af­ter claim­ing to have a con­nec­tion with se­nior of­fi­cials, Zhao was of­fered 20 mil­lion yuan in ex­change for help­ing to free one of Guo’s sec­re­taries, sur­named Yang, who had been placed un­der res­i­den­tial sur­veil­lance.

Zhao could not re­sist such temp­ta­tion and ac­cepted the of­fer, along with Ge, vice-pres­i­dent of Zhongzhix­i­aokang Investment and Management, a shell com­pany with­out any real busi­ness op­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Rep­re­sent­ing Guo, Song first met Zhao and Ge in May 2016 in Shen­zhen. Song was as­sured Zhao was a se­nior mil­i­tary of­fi­cer through the meet­ing in Shen­zhen.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Song said: “The true in­ten­tion of Guo is to find peo­ple to help him reach high-level of­fi­cials to look into the pos­si­bil­ity of his re­turn to China. The re­quest to re­lease the sec­re­tary will test Zhao’s con­nec­tion with se­nior of­fi­cials.”

By co­in­ci­dence, Yang was freed on bail af­ter her res­i­den­tial sur­veil­lance came to an end on May 18, 2016. Guo mis­tak­enly thought that Zhao and Ge had or­ga­nized the re­lease, send­ing thanks in a What­sApp mes­sage. “Brother Ge, I’m fully con­fi­dent about you,” Guo wrote.

“Guo was very happy about the re­sult and asked me to meet him in Bri­tain as soon as pos­si­ble,” Ge told po­lice, adding that he con­tacted Guo’s as­sis­tant to dis­cuss the trans­fer of money later that day.

Ac­cord­ing to bank state­ments, Guo trans­ferred 6 mil­lion yuan and 14 mil­lion yuan to the ac­counts of Zhongzhix­i­aokang and Hong Kong Wan­sui group, re­spec­tively, as Ge re­quested.

In June 2016, Ge flew to Lon­don to meet Guo and dis­cuss busi­ness co­op­er­a­tion.

“Guo kept ask­ing me about Zhao, such as his con­nec­tion with se­nior of­fi­cials and how he es­tab­lished the con­nec­tion. When I said I was not fa­mil­iar with Zhao’s back­ground, he burst into a fury,” Ge told po­lice. “Guo re­al­ized that we could not help him re­turn home.”

In a What­sApp mes­sage to Song, Guo said: “I’m sure that Zhao was telling an outand-out lie that he had con­nec­tion with se­nior of­fi­cials. They are all big swindlers. I’m ashamed that I was cheated. I’ve never seen such con-artists in my life.”

Guo is sus­pected of col­lud­ing with Song and Hainan Air­lines staff to ob­tain per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of pas­sen­gers, as well as fabri­cat­ing and spread­ing in­for­ma­tion to mis­lead the pub­lic via over­seas me­dia out­lets and on­line video plat­forms.

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