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August 12, 2010

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Who? The US$38m question ...

THE Shanghai winner of a huge national lottery prize has yet to claim his money and his identity remains a mystery.

Waiting for the man, believed to be living in Yangpu District, is the 259 million yuan (US$38 million) he won in the Two-Tone Ball welfare lottery on Tuesday night.

It is the second biggest prize in the history of the lottery on China's mainland - and the biggest in Shanghai - second only to a prize of 359 million yuan won by a man from Henan Province last year.

But it's not all good news. When he picks up his cash he will have to pay tax of about 50 million yuan, the Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center said.

Up to yesterday the man hadn't turned up to claim his winnings but he has 60 days left to do so, the center said.

"We don't know his identity, just like everyone else who is asking us who he is," said Wang Yulin, a center official.

But even if his name was known, under the lottery's rules it wouldn't be disclosed without his permission.

"When he comes to claim the prize, we'll try our best to meet his requirements, such as opening a special passageway for him if he wishes," said Wang.

The winner spent 200 yuan on the lottery at a stall on Dalian Road.

The stall owner, Sun Zhimin, said the man had been buying Two-Tone Ball tickets for more than two years. Sun remembered him because he usually wrote the numbers he wanted on a small piece of paper and handed it over without a word.

"I remember he was around 30 years old. He was about 1.7 meters tall, with rather fair and clear face," Sun said. "He usually buys five lottery tickets at a time."

People crowded round the stall yesterday, all talking about the big win. Sun said he had two to three times more buyers than usual.

"I came here purposely to buy lottery tickets," said Chen Wei, a 29-year-old salesman. "I hope that the winner's good luck can pass to me."

Another buyer, Gu Yijun, said he started to buy lottery tickets early this year and had met the winner several times. "I think he comes to buy in all weathers," Gu said.

The Two-Tone Ball lottery is drawn three times a week. People have to guess seven numbers to win the first prize. They can choose the numbers themselves.

Proceeds from the lottery go to disaster relief and to help disabled people and senior citizens, the center said.


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