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February 22, 2011

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Wannabe is conned into sexy audition

YOUNG women seeking stardom have been warned to look out for an "actor recruiter" asking them to perform a sexy online "audition."

Because far from leading to a career in television, they are being duped by a conman claiming to work in Shanghai for Hong Kong-based Television Broadcasting Limited.

TVB, which produces programs popular among young people, said yesterday it had never organized any such recruitment projects.

This follows a complaint by a young woman conned into taking part in a "future star recruitment plan," which required applicants to enact sexy scenarios via the Internet.

Zhong Xiaohong, a model in Sichuan Province, said she posed for provocative pictures and sent more than 10 photographs of her wearing just underwear to a man named Chu Xiaodong, who claimed to be a playwright at a TVB office in Shanghai.

"He told me that I needed to do this to win a role in a drama similar to Ang Lee's movie 'Lust, Caution,'" she said.

Zhong has dreamed of becoming a star since childhood and initially believed Chu and did whatever he asked. "He seemed very intelligent and powerful and showed me a TVB actress contract," Zhong said.

She also found an online recruitment advertisement purporting to be from TVB's Shanghai office, strengthening her belief.

But she began to doubt Chu when he expressed his love to her and asked her to fly to Shanghai for a face-to-face interview early this month.

Before departing, Zhong checked with TVB in Hong Kong and was told they had no Shanghai liaison office, nor an employee called Chu Xiaodong.

"Now I'm really worried that he will use my sexy images in a bad way," Zhong said.

Zhang Hui'er, TVB's representative in Beijing, said the company had reported the case to local police.


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