The biggest scam in China this year has been unveiled — and no, it’s not the traffic-straddling bus.
A wealthy woman in southern China reportedly lost a whopping $7 million to a scammer who pretended to be a 300-year-old emperor.
It might sound like a joke but it’s true.
It all started in 2012, when the woman, identified as Zheng Xueju, was looking forward to business investments in Shenzhen, Guandong province and she met a man named Wan Jianmin who claimed to be a financier.
Wan appeared to be the perfect investor, but the most extraordinary thing about him was his friendship with "Qianlong” — who was the emperor of China from 1735 to 1796.
Subsequently, Zheng was introduced to the 300-year-old ruler, who told her the secret to his astonishingly long-life was that he drank “the elixir of life.”
Qianlong also told the woman he had access to imperial treasure that needed “unfreezing.”
The story was bizarre and downright unbelievable. However, equally bizarre and downright unbelievable was the woman’s response to it.
Not only did she believe Wan and Qianlong, but she also gave them 2 million yuan ($300,000) as initial down-payment to unfreeze the royal money and purchase jade cabbage sculptures, which are supposed to bring people good luck and fortune.
In 2014, she gave them around 45 million yuan to invest in a new technology firm based in Shenzhen. After that the two men took off with her money and spent nearly all of it on houses, cars and medicine.
They were arrested, eventually, and are being held on trial on charges including fraud, impersonation and scamming for profit.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlo Allegri