A man who was swindled out of 87,700 yuan (US$12,829) 11 years ago now has all his money back thanks to Jiading District judges in Shanghai.
Jian, the victim, said the money was the best Spring Festival gift he could have hoped for.
"I never expected the swindler would be caught and the money would be returned after more than 10 years. I am so excited," he said.
In 1998, he traveled from Jiangxi Province to the city's Jiading District to buy a Volkswagen.
Two men surnamed Huang and Chen, who said they worked in the sales department of Shanghai Volkswagen, contacted him. Chen offered to help Jian buy a Santana 2000 at a low price. The model was in short supply at the time.
On July 31, 1998, Jian paid Chen a 5,000-yuan deposit. The next day Chen told Jian he could get the car after paying 82,700 yuan. Jian paid up but then the two disappeared.
The police caught Chen but Huang escaped with the money. Chen was jailed for three and a half years for fraud and returned the 5,000 yuan deposit. Huang's family paid Jian 20,000 yuan.
Huang escaped to Jiangxi, where he had been a soldier and had a family. He cut off contact with his parents to avoid the police finding him.
But on September 23 last year, Huang, thinking the crime had been forgotten, was caught in a hotel in Jiangxi because his name was on a list of escaped suspects.
At Jiading District People's Court last year, Huang was jailed for three years and eight months and returned 62,700 yuan to the court. But the judges couldn't find Jian because of the time gap.
They didn't give up, however. They asked for help from the Fengchuan City Public Security Bureau in Jiangxi since Jian's residence was registered there. Jian was finally found last Friday and came to the court yesterday morning.
After checking his identity, judges gave him the 62,700 yuan he was still missing.
(Shanghai Daily January 20, 2009)