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October 19, 2009

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Former TV anchor is bailed in fraud case

"JUST let it be," said former China Central Television anchor Fang Hongjin yesterday after state media reports said he was granted bail after being detained for alleged contract fraud.

Fang, who once presented CCTV's popular "Topics in Focus," told "Just let it be, and I still have many things to do."

Fang was detained in Xingtai City, Hebei Province, and held in a detention center in Longyao County because he owed a Longyao-based instant noodle manufacturer 1.2 million yuan (US$175,757), according to Xinhua news agency.

He had promised to promote products by Hebei Hualong Food Group Co Ltd in a TV drama and signed a contract with Hualong in February 2006, said Xinhua.

Hualong paid 1 million yuan to Fang's advertisement agency in Beijing two months later.

However, Fang failed to promote the products and didn't return the money until he was jailed, Xinhua said.

Hualong in January 2008, filed a suit against him at Longyao County People's Court, which referred the case to Longyao police.

Officers began chasing Fang in June 2008 and caught him earlier this month.

He was granted bail on Thursday after paying back the debt.

Fang has been involved in several business disputes in recent years.

Jiante Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, a biotech company based in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, said it reached an agreement with Fang on May 31, 2005, allowing him an extension period for 8 million yuan of debt that should have been cleared in 2003.

But Fang didn't repay the debt until he lost an appeal in June 2006, the company said.

A source told that Fang had recently managed product placement in TV dramas including "Cell Phone" starring Chen Daoming and Wang Zhiwen. But a program executive said he had not carried out his promises.

Fang, 48, began to work at CCTV in 1992.

He joined Shanghai-based Dragon TV in 2003 but left three years later.


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