A MERCHANT said to have ordered goods worth more than $1 million from various companies using post-dated cheques had his hair cut and dyed to avoid identification, the District Court heard yesterday. Anastasius Chiu, 30, pleaded not guilty to 17 counts of obtaining property by deception and one charge of evasion. The goods included one million buzzers valued at $138,500 and 4,800 umbrellas worth $104,000. Prosecutor Frederic Whitehouse said evidence would show that a company based in Hunghom called World Wide Trading was involved in long-term fraud. A number of trading companies had delivered goods to World Wide in return for post-dated cheques, he said. The court heard the goods were then sold, at a considerable discount, to friends of the defendant, who in turn shipped them to Taiwan. Counsel said World Wide closed down its operations one day before the cheques were due for presentation, and all the post-dated cheques were dishonoured. Police began surveillance of World Wide. Truckloads of cartons were observed being moved out of the office to a warehouse in Yau Tong, Kowloon. Mr Whitehouse further said a hairdresser who had been attending to the defendant's hair for the past five years would testify that Chiu had been wearing his hair long, in a ponytail. On October 26 last year, the day World Wide was cleared out, the defendant had his hair trimmed, dyed and waved, counsel said. On October 27, World Wide did not open at all. Police broke into the premises after obtaining a search warrant and found the office completely cleaned out. All documents had been shredded and every desk had been wiped clean. The godown at Yau Tong was raided and 4,500 cartons of goods were recovered. The defendant was arrested in the early hours of October 28 last year, when police saw a red Saab driven by Chiu with a woman passenger leaving an apartment block in Robinson Road. Under caution, he said he had never heard of World Wide Trading. The hearing continues.