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October 28, 2015

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Billionaire among 5 held for 1999 robbery

A BILLIONAIRE was among five people caught last week for an armed bank robbery that happened 16 years ago in Zhengzhou, capital of central China’s Henan Province.

The incident happened on December 5, 1999, when five men broke into a branch of Bank of Zhengzhou and stole 2.1 million yuan (US$330,000). Two bank employees were badly injured during the heist.

With little trace left at the scene, the police drew blank during the initial investigation and was forced to close the case, Henan Daily reported. But with newer technology at their disposal, police reopened the case and dug out new evidence.

Earlier this month, police started looking for suspects in Zhengzhou and neighboring cities. One of them was a 53-year-old real estate tycoon surnamed Shi, the daily reported.

On October 21, police caught Shi and three other suspects in the case in their hometown Zhumadian City. Shi’s brother was caught three days later.

After the police completed their interrogation, Shi told the paper that he took some of the people from his hometown to Zhengzhou in the early 1990s to work at construction sites.

He was promoted as a construction team leader after a few years. But he was not satisfied with his pay and came up with the idea of robbing a bank.

He suggested the idea to the guys from his hometown, and then went to Xuchang City to buy five guns. They then designed the plan to rob the bank and the escape route.

At 7:20pm on December 5, 1999, the five of them, fully armed, broke into the bank.

After the robbery, they fled to their hometown and later moved to southwest China’s Yunnan Province, where they stayed for about 15 days.

Eventually, they returned to Zhumadian as the police investigations had failed to make much headway.

Shi kept the major portion of the cash while the rest — between 150,000 to 200,000 yuan each — were split with the others. Shi used the money to invest in real estate and rose to be one of the most influential businessman in Zhumadian.


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