China has a well-earned status as the land of fakery. Since the very first edition of WiC we have reported on extraordinary episodes involving shanzhai products (shanzhai is the Chinese term for fake). However, it’s one thing to fake a Rolex and an altogether more ambitious undertaking to fake a government interrogation room.
This was the ploy that was recently revealed by Xinhua in Heilongjiang’s Suihua city. The gang spent three months and Rmb200,000 ($31,466) to replicate a cell, featuring a big logo of the People’s Procuratorate, interrogation chairs, lamps and cameras. It was designed to make its targets, primarily government officials, believe the Party’s anti-corruption watchdog was after them.
The scam came to light when the head of a local agriculture department was seized from his home by a couple of burly men who told him: “Don’t you know the crimes you have committed? Come with us now!” The stunned official was taken to the bogus setup. Having been asked a series of questions, he was told that he might be the wrong man but could only escape further investigation if he paid a bribe of Rmb400,000. In order to collect the money the official was bundled back into a car, hooded, and dropped at the train station.
Meanwhile his wife had called the police, and on his return they decided to conduct a sting operation at the drop. Having arrested the gang members, they visited the shanzhai interrogation room, which turned out to be a floor of an abandoned shopping mall.
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