Zhang Ningquan has pulled off an innovative first in counterfeit terms: he has created a shanzhai (fake) government department. The Guangzhou Daily is all the more amazed that he pulled off the trick for four years before being caught.
Zhang rented an old Ministry of Justice office in Beijing and set up the China Investigators Board, which he passed off as a branch of government. Giving himself the title of ‘Secretary’, he staffed his office up with uniformed personnel and all the paraphernalia of a government department – including a fake Communist Party commissar.
He then solicited bribes from industrialists, as well as money from those who thought they could buy government jobs through him. He made upwards of Rmb16 million from his work, before his eventual arrest. He was only caught out after footage appeared on the internet of a lavish funeral he’d arranged for his mistress. Netizens questioned how a government official could afford to buy the hill on which he buried his lover. When investigators looked into it, they discovered his fraudulent operation.
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