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August 18, 2010

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Big lottery winner has big heart

SHANGHAI'S biggest lottery prize winner is also China's most charitable lottery winner.

The man, identified only as Shen to protect his safety, claimed his prize - 259 million yuan (US$38 million) - yesterday at the Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center.

It was the second biggest prize in the history of the Two-Tone Ball welfare lottery in China, trailing only the 359 million yuan won by a man from Henan Province last year.

Shen, who turned up six days after the prize was drawn, said he would donate 10.3 million yuan to the Shanghai Citizen Mutual-Aid Foundation. Of that, 5.16 million will be given to Zhouqu, Gansu Province, where fatal mudslides have killed at least 1,270 people and left 474 missing. The other 5.16 million is expected to help Shanghai needy people.

The foundation yesterday issued a donation certificate for him.

Shen will also have to pay tax of almost 50 million yuan, the lottery center said.

Shen said "516" was his lucky number, and he wished he could pass his good luck onto mudslide survivors and Shanghai citizens, according to center officials.

Center officials, determined to preserve Shen's privacy, refused to disclose personal details such as his age and occupation, and kept the media away from him.

"All the claiming procedures were carried out as usual," said Li Hong, director of the center. "Shen didn't ask for any special service, thus we just treated him as a common lottery buyer."

"Anyway, we were grateful he was such a standing supporter of the welfare lottery," Li said.

Shen came in plain clothes, without covering his face, as people had imagined. Officials checked Shen's lottery ticket carefully and repeatedly and all of the officials on the scene signed a privacy commitment, Li said.

Shen bought the ticket at a lottery stall on Dalian Road. The batch of tickets cost him 200 yuan.

The stall became so hot after he won the big prize that the stall owner, Sun Zhimin, set off firecrackers last week in celebration.

Not every lottery winner was celebrating yesterday.

A winner in Jiangsu Province was perhaps the unluckiest person in the country, because he or she failed to claim a 10 million yuan prize before it expired yesterday.

It's the largest unclaimed prize in the history of the welfare lottery on the Chinese mainland.

The mysterious ticket buyer in Kunshan City bought only one number, spending 2 yuan on June 16. The winning number was published on June 17 but the lucky player apparently had no idea of the windfall.

The owner of the lottery stall where the ticket was sold said the winner was not a regular buyer. Some steady lottery buyers suspect the winner might have bought the 2 yuan ticket only to break a 100-yuan note.

Local media put out several notices for the missing winner over the last two months. The local lottery authority even offered a 100,000 yuan award for any information.

The lottery authority said the 10 million yuan will enter social charity accounts.


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