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Conman scams Shanghai student desperate to find hit-and-run driver

University student in Shanghai is conned HK$6,800 during search for driver of a hit-and-run accident that left her mother hospitalised and unable to pay for treatment

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 1:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 5:26pm

Liang Xu tried everything to collect clues to a hit-and-run traffic accident that left her mother hospitalised and unable to pay for treatment. She kneeled in the snow to request help from passersby and took to social media to try to find the culprit.

She posted descriptions of the hit-and-run car on her weibo account, China’s twitter-like microblogging service, hoping to find information.

Liang, a junior at the Shanghai International Studies University, received a phone call on November 28, from a man who claimed to have answers about the accident. He requested to meet Liang alone.

When the two met near the Provincial People’s Armed Police Hospital, the man, who called himself Liu Jun, told Liang the vehicle that she described as “a white truck with a smashed window” was parked at his repair shop.

Because the description matched the car implicated in the accident, Liang was duped into believing him.

The man then said he was able to provide her with a “written testimony” that would also "give her leads to two other witnesses” - for a sum of 500 yuan (HK$600).

An eager and desperate Liang paid up only to be led on by the man again after he claimed he needed 5,000 yuan (HK$6,200) as “working capital” to pay the witnesses as a reward. Liang handed over her life savings while the man assured her that he would take the witnesses and the car to the traffic police brigade on December 3.

Sensing trouble after the man’s phone was turned off for two days, Liang went to the police to report the incident. She had taken photos of the man on her mobile phone and handed them over as evidence.

Following the incident, Liang took to social media again in search for help.

“Right now only the power of social forces can help me, I hope this man can return the money which I need to save my mother’s life,” said Liang.

Fellow netizens responded with heartful sympathy.

“I cannot stand to see this girl in tears! Liang Xu, do not cry, stay strong! Although I am way too far away to help, I hope those around her can lend her some assistance!" wrote a weibo user.

"A sign of China's moral decay," wrote another.