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March 25, 2013

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4 get prison over fake 'bear bile' scams

FOUR men who conned people into buying fake bear bile and cheated the victims out of 210,000 yuan (US$33,810) in a 10-day span received prison sentences ranging from four to six years, a local court said yesterday.

The Fengxian District People's Court heard the "bear bile" they sold was cough syrup. The convicts said they came up with the idea because bear bile is known as a valuable TCM medicine.

Prosecutors said one convict pretended to be the seller while the three others pretended to be two agents and a buyer from a hospital. They planned to con four women taxi drivers, whom they thought would be more easily taken in.

Wu Wenjun said he acted as a seller and took a taxi to meet Wan Zhaoyou, disguised as an agent. Wan introduced Wu to another "agent," Chen Gonghua, who helped Wu contact Yang Xiuhai, an "official" from a local hospital, court officials said.

While Wu pretended to wait for results of a test to see if the bear bile were genuine, Wan and Chen sat in the taxi and told the driver that Wu wanted to sell the bear bile at 420,000 yuan, though it was worth 680,000 yuan.

The agents convinced the driver to pay 80,000 yuan to buy the bear bile with them and they promised to return 130,000 yuan in dividends after they resold the bear bile to a hospital, according to court testimony.

The scheme was so complex and convincing that four women were taken in between February 14 and February 25. The victims were relieved of 210,000 yuan, along with a gold ring and a gold necklace.

Wu and Chen were each sentenced to six years in prison with a fine of 110,000 yuan. Wan and Yang got five and four years in prison, respectively, as well as fines of 110,000 yuan and 90,000 yuan.


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