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Con artist spotted after he was recognized on TV

A con man who swindled money from a dozen people out in Shanghai's Xuhui and Jing'an districts was caught yesterday after he showed on a local TV talent show and was recognized by one of his victims.

Zhao Fanghua, 25, was arrested by police near the corner of Wulumuqi Road and Wuyuan Road as he came to meet the victim, Wendy, who saw him on the TV show and tried to settle the matter in private by returning her money.

Wendy said she gave Zhao 100 yuan (US$15.7) on October 4 when he claimed his wallet was stolen and asked her for help on Fuxing Road.

Zhao said he lived in the suburban Qingpu District and asked to borrow 35 yuan from Wendy to go home, promising he would return her money and call her in the evening.

Seeing Zhao was a local Shanghainese and looked honest, Wendy gave him a 100-yuan note as she had no changes. But Zhao didn't call her that night and Wendy realized she was cheated.

Wendy met Zhao again the next day at about the same time on Wulumuqi Road near Wuyuan Road. But Zhao didn't recognize her and played the same trick on her. When she exposed his lie, Zhao fled in a taxi.

On November 20, Wendy happened to see Zhao in an ad trailer for a local TV program. She was irritated and posted her experience on Weibo microblog along with Zhao's video clip and asked other victims to help find the cheater.

Zhao himself also noticed the microblog and called Wendy. At first, he denied the accusation but later apologized, saying he was sorry and asked for forgiveness.

Wendy reported him to the police but still pretended to meet him to settle the matter in private. She also took a video of Zhao's arrest and uploaded it to her microblog.

"A liar should not stand on the stage and cheat more thousands more," said Wendy in her microblog.

Zhao later confessed that he had cheated more than 10 people out of about 6,000 yuan, using the same trick, but "it was only for fun."


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