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Shenzhen cop flees country with prison inmate’s fortune

Posted: 02/24/2012 9:15 am

A cop in Shenzhen, Zhang Yongguang, has taken punishing the wicked way too far, stealing nearly 1 mln RMB from a prisoner.

As described by police in the city, in December 2010, Zhang—just 28 years old at the time—first removed 770,000 RMB from an inmate’s bank account then tricked the man’s family out of an additional 150,000 RMB in the form of a bribe. By the time the Nanshan People’s Court approved an arrest warrant for Zhang for the crime of fraud, the man had already fled the country.

The former prisoner involved, Liu, was an engineer in a Shenzhen-based tech company when he was convicted of commercial bribery in August 2010, for which he received a 10-month sentence. Liu only discovered the the theft after his release upon finding that his bank accounts had been completely emptied.

According to the bank transaction records shown by Liu to the press, around 500,000 RMB was withdrawn from one of his accounts in separate installments between October 28 and November 2, 2010. Lesser sums were stolen using each of his other four bank cards and one credit card.

Liu says that he lost just a total of just over 1 million RMB. He told reporters that on the day of his arrest, October 27, 2010, Zhang demanded that he hand over all six cards and, saying it was required for the investigation, forced Liu to tell him his PIN numbers.

However, a spokesperson for the Nanshan Public Security Bureau (PSB) has stated that Zhang made off with around 770,000 RMB of Liu’s money, and not 1 million as he claims.

Liu’s wife has said that police have compensated her for the 150,000 RMB extorted by Zhang in 2010 with the false promise of helping Liu secure and early release.

The Nanshan PSB spokesperson also said that after joining the police force in 2004, Zhang was discovered to have pulled off similar scams with other arrestees and was discharged around the time he began targeting Liu. Zhang was given permission to go traveling overseas, and when Liu’s wife then turned to police in late December after being unable to contact him, it became clear that he was not coming back.

Liu waited until now to go public with his case in the hope that as a last resort, media coverage will help him get his money back.

Liu argues that the PSB should cover his losses, as Zhang abused his position to commit crime. Police, however, have responded by saying that since Zhang is still on the run and details of the case remain unclear, it can’t be determined at this time whether the PSB should be held responsible for Liu’s losses.

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