Gang establishes companies to coax 'gifts' from victims

The suspects allegedly contacted companies from all over the country with "business initiatives," then asked them for gifts and became unreachable.

Nine fraud suspects have been caught allegedly establishing companies for the sole purpose of receiving gift money, cigarettes and wine from potential “business partners,” police said on Thursday.

The gang allegedly profited over 100,000 yuan (US$16,000) from the scheme since May last year, fleecing at least 15 victims.

Police in Huangpu District started their investigation in August last year after one of the victims reported the case.

The victim, a man surnamed Wang who runs a furniture factory in Hebei Province, received a “business cooperation request” from one of the suspects who called him from Shanghai. He travelled to the city right away to meet the man.

The suspect said he hoped to order one million yuan worth of furniture from Wang with the condition that he paid 30,000 yuan as a “kickback,” police said.

Wang was also made to give expensive cigarettes as gifts and treated the "company staff" to a dinner.

Wang realized that it might be a scam after about half a month when he was cut off by his “business partner” and found that the company had moved out of its office in Huangpu District, police said.

Police discovered that the suspect who contacted Wang was a man surnamed Zhang, while the “staff” at Zhang’s company were either his relatives or friends.

The gang contacted companies from all over the country whose contact information they allegedly gathered from exhibitions or online.

The suspects allegedly confessed to ordering expensive wine while dining with the victims and replacing it with fake wine behind their backs, and afterwards selling the wine and cigarettes they received as gifts.

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