The story of a Chinese man who claimed he was imprisoned and used as a “blood slave” that was widely reported last month was a hoax, according to Cambodian police. Cambodian police informed the Chinese embassy on Monday that their investigation revealed the blood slave case was fabricated, according to a statement from the embassy. In mid-February a Chinese man’s claim that he had been imprisoned and had his blood excessively drained and sold by a gang in the Cambodian city of Sihanoukville made international headlines. Cambodian police said the man, identified as Li Yayuanlun, had been smuggled into Cambodia. Suffering from serious liver disease, he contacted a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the city to seek help. Police allege three people from the NGO helped Li fabricate and spread the “blood slave” story; that he had been imprisoned, abused and had large amounts of blood taken to be sold online by a local criminal gang. Police said the group had deceived the public and authorities. The case will be handled by the Cambodian judicial authority, according to the Chinese embassy. The identities and motives of Li’s three accomplices have not been revealed. ‘Blood slave’ kidnapped by Chinese crime gang in Cambodia The Chinese embassy called on Chinese citizens abroad to abide by local laws. The embassy said it will follow up on the case and cooperate with local police in fighting online fraud and other crimes involving Chinese citizens. According to previous media reports, Li claimed he was taken by gang members at gunpoint across the China-Vietnam border after he was lured by a fake job ad to Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China where he was abducted. He was later taken to Cambodia by ship, he alleged. Li claimed he was exploited as a ‘blood slave’ after he refused demands to join the gang in an online scam. He said he managed to escape thanks to the help of a member of the group. Soon after Li’s story was made public last month, the Chinese embassy sent staff to visit him in hospital. The embassy gave his case high priority and urged Cambodian police to investigate. The Chinese embassy in Cambodia could not be reached for comment by the South China Morning Post at the time of writing.