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August 22, 2019

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‘Dead’ sailor lands in jail after faking own death

A SAILOR who faked his own death to cheat his company into paying compensation was jailed for nine years and fined 100,000 yuan (US$14,156) by the Hongkou District People’s Court .

Zhang Jinglei swindled the shipping company he worked for out of nearly 800,000 yuan, while his colleagues raised more than 10,000 yuan for the family. The money was used to pay for medical treatment for his father and his wife and living expenses.

He surrendered himself to police in October last year after police officers discovered he was using two identities.

Prosecutors said that about 10pm on August 27, 2011, Zhang, who was on a Panamanian freighter, put a set of clothes, a pair of shoes, an uninflated life buoy, his identity card and some cash into a plastic bag and carried them on deck. He used a syringe to take blood from his arm and sprayed on the shirt he was wearing and the deck.

He ripped buttons off and tore the shirt up to fake a “fight.” The blood-stained shirt was left at the scene with one of his shoes and an iron bar, which was also sprayed with his blood. The syringe, his cellphone and the other shoe were thrown into the sea.

Zhang then jumped into the sea with the plastic bag tied to his waist and swam to shore.

He told prosecutors the shore was about 2 kilometers from the ship and it took him several hours to get there.

He said he had got the idea to fake his death from a Korean drama. After he went ashore, he put on the dry clothes and returned home to see his father. He told him he had killed a “thief” on the ship and asked his father to hide the fact that he was still alive. His father let him hide in a chicken coop.

Zhang’s crewmates found he was missing at dawn on August 28 and told police. An investigation was suspended as Zhang’s body could not be found.

On December 16, the shipping company gave 799,000 yuan to Zhang’s wife as compensation.

However, in early 2012 her father-in-law took her to the chicken coop, where she found Zhang. She told him to return the money to the company but he refused. Zhang used another identity and hukou he had bought for 3,000 yuan.

In July last year, Shandong police were checking those who had two hukou online and noticed Zhang. They called Zhang and told him to cancel one of them. Zhang was worried that he was about to be found out so decided to give himself up to police.


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