Scammer tried to have me killed - fraud-buster

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 August, 2010, 12:00am

Anti-fraud crusader Dr Fang Shimin, who was ambushed by two men in Beijing on Sunday night on his way home from a television interview, suspects that one of the fraudsters he exposed wants him dead.

'Apparently this is a revenge attack planned by someone who has been exposed by me and who has pried and waited for a long time near my home and finally got a chance,' he wrote on his blog.

Better known to mainland internet users as Fang Zhouzi, the 'science cop', he said a man sprayed something into his face that made him dizzy and nearly faint.

Fang, a biochemist, said it smelled like diethyl ether, a chemical once used as a general anaesthetic.

The second attacker swung a hammer at his head but missed and struck him on the waist.

Fang said his assailants 'wanted me to die'.

'The thugs' plan was to use anaesthetics to first make me unconscious and then bash me to death with the hammer,' he said. 'It's a good thing I am alert and can run fast.'

Fang told police he ran a few hundred metres to an area near his home. The attackers did not follow him.

His lawyer, Peng Jian , told China Central Television the attack was motivated by revenge. In his lonely crusade against academic fraud and pseudoscience, Fang has exposed scholars in top universities and well-known entrepreneurs.

Fang said he believed the attack was linked to an assault on Fang Xuanchang , an editor of Caijing magazine and veteran technology reporter, in June. The journalist was beaten on the back and head by two men with steel bars in Beijing. His attackers are still at large.

'[My assailants] might have learned a lesson from Fang Xuanchang's escape [so they used anaesthetic first],' Fang Shimin said.

The two Fangs had teamed up to investigate a specialist touting a new surgical procedure at a hospital in Zhengzhou , Henan. Fang Shimin has argued since September 2005 that Xiao Chuanguo , professor of urology at Wuhan's Huazhong University of Science and Technology, lied about winning an American Urological Association award and has questioned the success rate of a new surgical procedure Xiao has promoted.

Peng and Fang Shimin, representing the victims of Xiao's operations, are taking the hospital to court, with the first hearing scheduled for next month.

More recently, Fang Shimin has been in the news for questioning the credentials and health-promotion claims of celebrity Taoist priest Li Yi . He accused Li last month of falsifying his credentials and was interviewed about those allegations by a provincial television network just before he was attacked on Sunday.

Peng suspects that someone at the network might have leaked Fang Shimin's whereabouts. The location of the teahouse where the interview took place was also revealed in China Entrepreneurs, a magazine that Fang Shimin believes is close to Li.

The 42-year-old whistle-blower has become used to all kinds of threats.

He wrote on his microblog on July 2 that he had received a telephone call telling him 'to be careful in the next few days' because 'somebody will punish you'.

More phone calls and e-mails of a similar nature followed.

Fang Shimin said that three years ago, before the launch of a book he had written, he was chased by three strangers and threatened.