A fraud artist who cheated students and their families out of millions of yuan for tuition to a fake military school has been sentenced to life in prison.
The Beijing Municipal No. 2 Intermediate People's Court sentenced Fan Chuili, to life imprisonment, deprived him of his political rights and confiscated all his property.
Fan's accomplices, Teng Xijie, Li Zongzheng, Liang Xiuting and Liu Jianxun, were sentenced to more than ten years in prison.
From June to November of 2003, Fan offered students, who had failed university entrance exams a place in non-existing military schools, and promised them and their families a chance to become military officers.
Fan counterfeited military identification cards, certificates and other documents, and bought military uniforms under false pretences.
The gang defrauded each student of more than 110,000 yuan (US$13,750), and obtained a total of 19 million yuan (about US$2.38 million) from some 140 students in more than 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
They offered briberies to personnel in military schools to get registration forms for students and purchased uniforms.
Pretending to be army "director", "general", "commander" and other officials, the cheaters even arranged "military trainings" for the students and meetings with the parents of the students.
The court advised Chinese students and their parents to go to schools via normal channels.
The advice came as the matriculation of Chinese universities isstill underway. Almost 9 million Chinese students competed in college entrance examination of this year.
China's military schools plan to enroll more than 10,000 students in 2006, and the other colleges will also train more than 10,000 cadets. Military school has become a popular choice for Chinese students.
A teacher in charge of training cadets at the prestigious Qinghua University said the successful launch of Shenzhou-6 manned spacecraft and China's progress in national defense technologies have inspired students' enthusiasm to study in military schools.
He said the students of military schools and cadets trained by civil colleges will work for the army after graduation. Therefore, they are free from the pressure of looking for jobs.
(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2006)