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Sham fortune teller ends up in jail

A bogus fortune teller was sentenced to three years and 10 months behind bars for swindling a Shanghai woman out of more than 190,000 yuan (US$29,980), Huangpu District People's Court said today.

The convict, Li A'xiang, met the unnamed woman near the city's Jade Buddha Temple on Anyuan Road in February 2004 and said she could tell fortune by reading a person's face. She warned the woman that a tragic accident would soon befall her husband and child, prosecutors said.

The frightened woman asked Li how to avoid the bad luck. Li required 200 yuan for buying incense and performing prayers to help her shake off the bad luck. She also asked for the woman's phone number in order to tell her the result, the court heard.

Seven days later, Li called the victim and demanded 19,900 yuan more to destroy the bad luck, or one of her relatives would have a car accident.

Prosecutors said Li used the same trick to rip off the woman 39,000 yuan and 132,000 yuan in the following two months and then disappeared.

Li, a native of Anhui Province, was caught by police in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province last November. She said she hadn't expected the victim would believe her words and hand her the money.


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