Conman arrested after posing as high-ranking PLA officer for 16 years

Suspect, who promoted himself from colonel to major general, pocketed 4 million yuan in exchange for providing 'military favours'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 2:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 2:37pm

A con artist posing as a senior People’s Liberation Army officer was arrested after pocketing millions in yuan from prospective military recruits.

Best known for his guise as a “colonel”, the unemployed 59-year-old promised 17 hopefuls that he could work his connections to help them get into military academies. He swindled 4 million yuan (HK$5.04 million) out of them.

His arrest was recently approved by the Miyun district procuratorate in Beijing.

With so many years of experience posing as a ranking officer, his contacts – and he himself – were convinced he was a military official.

Even after his detention, the man insisted to police: “I am with the army and I have connections to admit them into military academies. I just need time.”

The man got the idea for the con in 1995 when he came to Beijing to work odd jobs in the army. He quit three years later, bought a uniform and forged a military officer certificate and started telling people he was the Beijing military command’s political commissar.

He claimed his father was the commander of the Beijing military command and that he could help people get admitted to the military academy, with an officer’s rank no lower than deputy company level.

In one case, the “officer” told the owner of a company that, for the price of 200,000 yuan, he could get the executive’s daughter into a military school. The girl, who failed the national university entrance test, was eventually accepted by a training school that accepted anyone but could not promise an officer’s rank when students graduate.

The con artist arranged for all his victims to attend such schools. Yet they were convinced the “officer” could help them get an officer’s rank.

Nobody called the police even years after they graduated.

When the suspect thought he had been a “senior colonel” long enough, he forged another officer certificate, giving himself the rank of major general.

The man then opened an investment company and said he was a contractor for the military. He made his staff wear military training uniforms.

He got more brazen, swindling 500,000 yuan out of high-profile man by promising to introduce him to senior military officials.

The 16-year ruse unravelled when the General Political Department got a tip early last year that a “major general” was hawking military favours. He was finally detained last August.