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February 4, 2010

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Expo 'manager' arrested over swindles

A MAN has been arrested in connection with a 360,000 yuan (US$52,709) swindle involving non-existent Expo construction projects, prosecutors said yesterday.

The defendant surnamed Zha from Anhui Province had been jailed for four years for rape but couldn't find a job after his release, Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Prosecutors' Office said.

Seeing that World Expo construction was in full swing, Zha decided to make use of the event.

He got to know a steel trader surnamed Zheng last September and claimed to be a manager in charge of a project to provide homes for people relocated to make way for the Expo site, prosecutors said.

Zha allegedly said the project needed more than 3,000 tons of steel and steel pipes and he wanted to purchase the steel from Zheng.

Zheng believed him since Zha had shown him documents issued by the Shanghai Headquarters of Expo Engineering Construction. But these were false, prosecutors said.

Zha and Zheng signed three steel trade contracts but then Zha began to borrow money from Zheng on various pretexts, including costs for social activities and payment for other materials, Zheng told prosecutors.

Zha also met a private company owner surnamed Chen from Jiashan, Zhejiang Province last August.

Zha told him an Expo garage project required wooden boards and signed a contract with Chen. He asked Chen to pay him 10,000 yuan as a guarantee to supply the goods in time.

But when Chen didn't hear anything further from Zha, he contacted the police.


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