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South Korean falls for 'black paper' scam
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Beijing police warned foreigners to be on the lookout for fraud yesterday after a South Korean man fell for a scheme in which two men claiming to be African officials said they could turn black paper into US bank notes with a special liquor.

The man, surnamed Choi, was cheated out of 1 million yuan ($143,000) earlier this month, the Beijing Public Security Bureau Exit-Entry Administration Department said.

Choi said he received an email in January from a man who claimed he was a high-ranking bank officer in Africa and could transfer a $29 million unclaimed inheritance to Choi, who only needed to pay commission charges and a fee to buy a special liquor which could turn black paper into US bank notes.

Earlier this month, Choi met two African men in Beijing, who claimed they were a bank officer and a diplomat. They gave Choi a box of black paper that they said were US bank notes covered by a black paint to avoid customs checks.

Choi saw them use a special liquor to turn a black paper into a US bank note in a Beijing hotel room. He immediately paid them more than 1 million yuan to buy the special liquor.

Choi later found that the liquor could not make the rest of his black paper into bank notes and called police. The case is under investigation.

"It is the first 'black paper turning into money' fraud case involving foreign victims in Beijing," police officer Zhao Hongyu said.

"Beijing has seen another three such money fraud cases in the past five months with all the victims Chinese and the crime suspects foreigners," Zhao said. Beijing police yesterday warned foreigners living in the city not to believe in the story of "black paper turning into money" or "receiving an unclaimed heritage."

(China Daily February 24, 2009)

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