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Blackmail for Charity Lands Woman in Jail
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A medicine representative was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for blackmailing more than 100 doctors, according to the Beijing Xicheng People's Court. Yu, who worked for a medicine company, confessed that she had done this to help students from poor families.

The court heard that Yu had written to more than 100 prestigious doctors in 10 hospitals under the name of a businesswoman suffering from leukemia.

"I am willing to subsidize poor students. Due to my limited capability, I would like to borrow 20,000 yuan (US$2,644) from you. If you refuse to lend a hand, I will expose your deed of taking 'red envelopes' (or unlawful payments) from patients..." read the letters mailed out last September.

But Yu received no responses, and instead of paying money, some doctors turned to the police for help. She turned herself in, as the police were about to identify her following the clues of bank card numbers in the letters which were opened by Yu using fake ID cards.

Yu told the court that her company used to subsidize students from poor families, but the funding was depleted due to the company's poor profits in recent years. She wanted to resurrect the charity by blackmailing high-income doctors, and collected information about the medical staff on the Internet.

"I have supported nine students from high school through to college," said Yu with tears in the court. "Each of them needs about 20,000 yuan per year."

Yu spoke out every single name of those students and apologized for setting a bad example. Those students also jointly appealed the court to hand down lenient punishment on Yu.

The court's verdict said Yu would receive a 10-month sentence considering her voluntary surrender and no illegal gains she had received.

(China.org.cn by Huang Shan July 11, 2007)

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