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Fraudster hid in Shaolin Temple to evade hunt

A MAN accused of cheating 90 million yuan (US$13.17 million) from more than 200 people in south China's Guangdong Province hid out for a while in the Shaolin Temple on his run from the police.

Yesterday the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court started hearing the charges against Mo Zhiqiang, the Information Times reported.

From April 2006 to April last year Mo pretended to be a sales manager for a local telecommunications firm in Guangzhou City and sold prepaid mobile phone cards he had purchased at the normal market price to supermarket owners at much lower prices, the court heard.

Winning their trust, he told the shop owners they could become provincial-level sales agents for the cards by paying him a deposit. He made more than 80 million yuan this way, the court heard.

In October 2007, he also made another 4.38 million yuan by promising lenders high interest rates.

After pocketing the profits he decided to disappear.

On April 19 last year he got his ex-wife Jiang Meiling and his driver Mo Dingguo to deposit the money in several bank accounts using different names.

For the next month he, his driver and his ex-wife were on the run hiding out in turn in Guangdong's Shaoguan City, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Henan Province's Shaolin Temple, Guangdong's Nanhai City and Sihui City. At each stop the driver booked the rooms for them.

After traveling across half the country, the three returned to Guangzhou. But his luck ran out and on May 23 Mo and the driver were caught by police at a toll station. Trying to win a reduction in his sentence, he told police where his ex-wife was hiding. She was was later arrested.

Anxious victims crowded the courtroom yesterday, many worried that their money would never be retrieved, the Information Times said.

The court did not announce its verdict.


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