Shanghai car plate fraud suspect nailed

The suspect allegedly told the victims that he could get car plates for them through his acquaintance with an auction firm manager, but the firm denied, police said.

A suspect has been caught for allegedly defrauding two Shanghai residents over Shanghai car plates and profiting around 50,000 yuan (US$7,800), police said on Wednesday.

The suspect, a man surnamed Zhao, allegedly told the victims that he could get the car plates for them through his acquaintance with an auction firm manager.

Police said there is no other way of obtaining a Shanghai car plate apart from signing up for official monthly auctions.

Police in Jing’an District started their investigation at the end of January this year after one of the victims, a man surnamed Xiong, reported the fraud to them.

Xiong said he searched for information about the service online and somehow came into contact with Zhao, who managed to convince him using his own ID card and his WeChat chat records with an auction firm manager.

Zhao, who later admitted that the chat records were fabricated, became unreachable a month after taking Xiong’s 22,000 yuan, police said.

He was caught in his hometown in Anhui Province about two months ago and allegedly said he defrauded people because he was in urgent need of money.

Shanghai car plates are hard to get. In the latest May auction, only 5.1 percent of bidders obtained a plate, at an average price of 89,018 yuan.


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