Chinese man accused of defrauding temple out of US$90,000 to buy Porsche

  • Police are looking for a man accused of ripping off a temple over its lease of a plot of land to open an animal shelter
PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 6:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2018, 7:54pm

A temple that tried to rent land to build an animal shelter claims it was cheated out of almost 600,000 yuan (US$86,500) when a middleman overcharged it and bought a Porsche, a Shanghai court heard this week.

The man, surnamed Yang, was approached by a temple abbot in June last year to find a plot of hillside land, Shanghai Fengxian People’s Procuratorate heard.

Yang was alleged to have contacted a secondary school headmaster in Ningbo city, two hours south of Shanghai, who agreed to rent out a 24-acre plot near the school.

On October 16 last year, the abbot signed a contract for a 35-year lease of a 98-acre plot of land for 800,000 yuan. The contract, it has been alleged, was a fake one, but Yang received payment the following day, the court was told.

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A contract with the headmaster, signed on October 23, was for only 210,000 yuan.

When the temple abbot found out more about the deal, he confronted Yang, who asked for a chance to repay the money by May 1 and even parked the Porsche in the temple as a guarantee, the court heard.

However, on failing to meet the deadline, he allegedly drove the sports car away, after which the abbot lodged a police report.

The court has since issued a warrant for the man’s arrest.

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Fraud is often the subject of headlines in China, with scammers most commonly targeting the elderly and online dating.

As use of technology increases, the number of young people falling for online scams has also risen.

According to a report by China’s online scam prevention agency, there were 24,260 valid reports of online scams in 2017, with an average loss of 14,413 yuan per person, up from 2,070 yuan in 2014.