Arrest approved in airline tickets fraud

Tian Shengjie
A man who thought he could make money as a middleman came unstuck when regulations meant his contact in an airline could no longer obtain flight tickets. 
Tian Shengjie

The arrest of a man said to have cheated people out of over 170,000 yuan (US$24,888) for plane tickets to China from overseas has been approved by the Minhang District’s procuratorate.

In June, purchasing agent Xiao Xing was asked for a ticket to China from overseas. However, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, tickets were in short supply and he turned to colleagues on a WeChat group. A man surnamed Gu told him he could get one the next day and Xiao gave him 20,000 yuan as a deposit.

However, there was no ticket the next day. Xiao was told he should wait. Several days later, he saw someone in the  group accusing Gu of being a swindler. Xiao then asked for his deposit back but Gu refused. Xiao called the police. 

Gu told police it was not initially his intention to carry out a fraud. In March, he and Xiao Lin, who works for an airline, were introduced by a mutual friend. Xiao Lin told him he could buy plane tickets through internal channels and Gu spotted a business opportunity. To pocket the price differences as a middleman, Gu advertised on WeChat.

Some people bought tickets from him and he gave some of their money to Xiao Lin as deposits.

However, a month later, Xiao Lin told him that due to airline regulations he could no longer buy tickets and returned the deposits. But Gu had already spent the money he had “earned.” To fill the gap he had to get more money from more buyers. 

Four people were identified by the police as victims in case and the procuratorate said more people had been cheated by Gu. Further investigations are underway.

(Xiao Xing and Xiao Lin are not their real names.)

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