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October 29, 2009

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Big winner is a man called An

THE identity of China's biggest-ever lottery prize winner became a little clearer yesterday as he claimed his prize of almost 360 million yuan (US$52.7 million) in central China's Henan Province.

The winner was identified as An in a press conference held at the Henan Provincial Welfare Lottery Center yesterday.

The man wore a mask and a pair of sunglasses to the center to claim his gigantic prize at around 11:45am on Tuesday.

A businessman from the province's Anyang City, An had spent more than 1,000 yuan on four lottery numbers, according to Henan's portal Website. The third number he bought was the lucky one.

The veteran lottery player, who has played "Dual-colored Ball" jackpot for three years, received 289 million yuan after tax.

He said he would not let the prize change his normal life and would use most of his bounty to expand his business, the Website said, quoting lottery official Li Guangyun.

Li said the prize money was paid both in cash and in check.

The winner took out 10 million yuan of his prize and immediately donated it to Henan's Charity Center, according to the report.

He also gave 600,000 yuan to Yan Mengmeng, a girl suffering uremia in the province.

The lottery official said suspicions that arose about the result, while normal, were unfounded.

He said both the provincial and national lottery centers confirmed the credibility of the prize, and lottery officials displayed the lucky ticket and tax receipt at the press conference.

Since the announcement of a winner, the local lottery market has boomed, Li said.

The shop where the lucky ticket was bought is now attracting people from far and wide to try their luck.

The shop may even become a tour stop, according to officials with Henan Province's China Travel Service.

The winner's identity was kept shrouded since the huge prize was announced on October 8.

The secrecy aroused suspicions that the draw had been manipulated.

However, a winner's personal information is supposed to remain secret under China's lottery regulations.


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