China: Around The Nation

Videos emerge online promoting Ponzi scheme that first surfaced in 2013

Clips go viral of shaven-headed women disciples of ‘Zhang Jian’, mysterious inventor of ‘Wuxing coin’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 2:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 April, 2017, 2:47pm

Viral videos of shaven-headed women have drawn attention to one of China’s largest Ponzi schemes involving at least 160 million yuan (US$23 million).

One of the videos, tagged “monks marrying nuns” and featuring men and women with shaved heads dressed in gowns at a hotel banquet, has gone viral on a mainland social media platform, news website reported.

In another clip, a handful of shaven-headed women with characters written on their foreheads that read “love boss Zhang Jian” are seen lining up in a tourist spot.

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The women claimed to be assistants of Zhang, the man who developed the so-called Wuxing coin.

The video claims Zhang hired the women for 30,000 yuan a month, while male assistants can earn 10,000 yuan a month, according to the report, which did not say why the men earn only a third of what their women colleagues get.

Wuxing coin is one of China’s largest Ponzi schemes that has collected more than 160 million yuan from at least 200,000 people across the country.

In 2013, state broadcaster CCTV reported that authorities had listed it as one of China’s top scams, and that 33 suspects had been arrested that year.

Zhang Jian is the pseudonym of the main suspect, Song Miqiu, from Wuxing city in Heilongjiang province. According to the report, Song remained at large and controlled the scheme from Malaysia and Thailand.

The scam is a pyramid scheme in which recruits pay different levels of membership – 500 yuan, 2,500 yuan and 5,000 yuan – then recruit others from whom they earn commissions.

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One Wuxing coin recruiter cited in the report claimed there were “only 500 million” Wuxing coins in circulation, and their value “surged daily”. “It’s better to buy earlier than later,” he said.

Each Wuxing coin costs 5,000 yuan and, the promoters claim, weighs 10 grams and is minted from pure gold. They are marked “Zhang Jian Wuxing Coin” on one side and feature a man’s face stamped on the other side.

The promoters also claimed Wuxing coins were linked to a future digital currency that would be issued by the Bank of China.