Seven suspects were referred to prosecutors for their alleged involvement in a scam that tricked men into thinking they would be paid to donate sperm to a wealthy woman, police said in Sichuan Province yesterday.
A total of 83 men around the country were fooled into paying a combined 680,000 yuan (US$97,000), police said.
According to police, the suspects had an elementary school education background, but managed to fool many people with a marriage agency's advert that read: "Rich woman wants sperm donor."
The ad claimed the woman was willing to pay one million yuan to a sperm donor because her husband had lost his sexual function.
A middle-aged man in Sichuan's Luding County paid 10,000 yuan in order to meet the woman after reading an advertisement in June, Chengdu Shangbao newspaper reported today.
The middle-aged man called the marriage agency, which was allegedly set up by the suspects, and paid 1,000 yuan to receive the woman's contact information, the newspaper said.
After transferring the money to the agency's account, the man called the woman, who asked him to meet her in Chengdu, Sichuan's capital. He was asked to pay a 5,000 yuan deposit to keep the information confidential.
The man paid, but the woman found many excuses to avoid meeting. Meanwhile, the agency also asked the man to pay more fees.
The man called police after paying more than 10,000 yuan and losing contact with both the woman and the agency.
Chengdu police launched an investigation after receiving dozens off complaints. The suspects were caught in September.
The victims included men in Shanghai, Guangxi, Shandong, Gansu, Shaanxi and Hubei, police told the newspaper.
(Shanghai Daily April 8, 2008)