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Volunteer to blame for stolen cash: Red Cross

THE Chinese Red Cross Foundation confirmed yesterday in Beijing that some donations to leukemia children were embezzled by a volunteer.

Ma Shujun, a program volunteer, allegedly copied ID cards and residency documents from parents of leukemia children in the name of helping them apply for financial assistance, a CRCF statement said.

The foundation said Ma, a father of a child with leukemia who received funding from the same program, opened bank accounts using those parent's documents. He then stole money from the accounts after the CRCF transferred funds, it said.

"We are still interviewing the families we assisted to find out how many were cheated," a foundation official said. "The total amount of money embezzled will not be released until next week."

Guangdong-based Southern Metropolitan Daily reported yesterday that a total of 550,000 yuan (US$80,590) was stolen from 27 families, according to its own investigation.

Questions about Ma were raised when a parent named Cheng Dongxue went to the foundation's office in Beijing to check on donations needed for his daughter's leukemia treatment in April.

The CRCF reported the case to police this month, but Ma was missing when officers arrived at his hometown in Hebei Province on May 15.

In an e-mail published by Southern Metropolitan Daily, Ma admitted to CRCF Secretary-General Wang Rupeng that he helped parents apply for funding.


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