Wed, February 04, 2009
China > Mainland

98-year-old Chinese man stands trial for fraud

2009-02-04 13:18:52 GMT2009-02-04 21:18:52 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese man, 98, stood trial Tuesday before a Beijing court for charges of swindling 749,000 yuan (109,508 U.S. dollars).

Zhou Zhiping, the oldest defendant ever to appear before a Beijing criminal court, was charged with swindling the money from a 74-year-old American Chinese man surnamed Chen, who had two doctorate degrees in physics and chemistry, according to the Chaoyang District People's Court.

The court heard that Zhou was introduced to Chen by Xiao Wanni, 50, and Wang Shengkun, 58. They convinced Chen that Zhou used to be a high-ranking official of Kuomintang and a senior official of Yunnan Province.

Zhou told Chen he had connections with state leaders and was unfreezing a large amount of "national funds."

According to Zhou, the "national funds" were the money that Kuomintang officials deposited in U.S. banks, which were valued at1,300 trillion Kuomintang currency. He said if Chen could finance him to unfreeze that money he could get a reward of 20 million yuan.

Chen gave the trio a total of 749,000 yuan from April 2007 to June 2008 before he realized he had been conned.

During the hearing, Xiao and Wang said they were not involved in the fraud and raised evidence against Zhou. Zhou denied the alleged fraud. "That's nonsense!" Zhou said, "I'm not guilty. I won't be jailed."

The court said if Zhou was convicted he would sentenced to at least 10 years in imprisonment.

The court hearing will continue.

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