And Finally

Rich pickings

Mystery man wins $52.6 million in lottery record

Rich pickings

"I won considerably less"

A man called An – from the city of Anyang in Henan province – recently woke up Rmb360 million ($52.6 million) richer, after winning the jackpot in China’s Dual-Coloured Ball lottery.

The lottery draws from six red ball numbers from 1 to 33 and one blue ball number from 1 to 16. According to officials, the winner bought 4 tickets at a cost of Rmb1,000. On Tuesday he claimed his winnings wearing sun glasses and a face mask.

Just as well, as the size of the win – three times the previous single-ticket record – quickly fuelled envious discussion in China’s cyberspace. One netizen wrote on Sina: “Even an idiot knows you cheated!”

Another contributor – this time to a forum – agreed. He complained that since the draw was pre-recorded, lottery officials could use the two-hour time gap to manipulate the results. Or rather, “to cheat money out of lottery players”.

Well, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is, says China News Service, which struggles to believe that someone chose exactly the right numbers from 49 balls on a single ticket. The winner might have colluded with the lottery centre, the paper concludes.

The accusations seem reminiscent of the John Travolta movie, Lucky Numbers (itself based on the 1980 Pennsylvania Lottery scandal), in which lottery balls were fraudulently weighted to achieve a desired result.

It wouldn’t be the first instance of lottery skulduggery in China either.

In June, a computer engineer from Shenzhen was detained after he hacked into lottery computers to produce fake tickets.

He was caught trying to claim Rmb33 million in winnings (see WiC24).

The domestic press is taking the opportunity to call for reform. The Chongqing Times reckons the biggest problem is the lack of effective supervision, and that an external authority is required to verify the system.

Meanwhile, business has been brisk at the lottery booth that sold the golden ticket. A tour group to Anyang City even made a special detour to catch some of the good luck.

“The outlet was not on the schedule, yet the tourists insisted to have a share of the huge luck,” the group’s guide told the Henan Business Daily.

Most netizens are now over their envy on the Henan mega-win. They’ve moved on to weighing in on how the new multi-millionaire should spend his fortune.

An online poll published by the Guangzhou Daily found that most respondents would rush out to “buy a car and a house,” followed by “travel around the world” and, finally, “donate to charity”.

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