Flies and Tigers | 抓蝇打虎

When China’s most wanted was tricked

GUO Wengui, China’s most-wanted fugitive, was cheated out of 20 million yuan (US$2.9 million) by two fraudsters, according to police, with one pretending to be a relative of senior officials and posing as a senior military officer, the other using a shell company.

Zhao Lixin and Ge Changzhong were detained by police in June. Song Jun, an intermediary between Guo and the two men, was also arrested in June, but in a separate case.

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 currently on Interpol’s “red notice” list of wanted fugitives.

Zhao, 50, was living in the southern city of Shenzhen when he was contacted by Song in May 2015.

After claiming 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 accepted the offer, along with Ge, vice president of Zhongzhixiaokang Investment and Management, a shell company, police said.

Representing Guo, Song first met Zhao and Ge in May 2016 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 would test Zhao’s connection with senior officials.”

When Yang’s residential surveillance came to an end on May 18, 2016, Guo mistakenly thought Zhao and Ge had organized the release.

“Brother Ge, I’m fully confident about you,” Guo wrote in a WhatsApp message.

Ge told police: “Guo was very happy about the result and asked me to meet him in Britain as soon as possible.”

Guo transferred 6 million yuan to Zhongzhixiaokang and 14 million yuan to another account, as per Ge’s request.

Ge said that when he met Guo in London, Guo kept asking about Zhao’s connections with officials. “When I said I was not familiar with Zhao’s background, he burst into fury. Guo realized that we could not help him return home.”

In a message to Song, Guo said: “They are all big swindlers. I’m shamed that I was cheated. I’ve never seen such con artists in my life.”


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