Gambling addict surrenders to save his life

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-30 08:47
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A gambling addict who turned himself to police and begged to spend the rest of his life in jail to avoid being killed by loan sharks, was sentenced yesterday to eight years behind bars for fraud.

Jiang Qiuqiang, 35, surrendered himself to police last June, and confessed to signing fraudulent car lease contracts.

The Jing'an District People's Court yesterday sentenced him to eight years in prison and fined him 8,000 yuan (US$988).

Jiang's longtime addiction to gambling cost him all of his savings and forced him to sell his home in Jiading District in 2004.

His financial situation became so bad, and his wife left him and his parents cut off all relations with him.

Jiang somehow managed to lease a Buick sedan in 2005, despite his lack of a job, or money, claiming he was involved in an engineering project outside of the city.

He used the car as collateral to borrow money from a loan shark so he could continue gambling. Over the next two months, he managed to lease three other cars from the same auto leasing company, which the court wouldn't name.

The four cars were valued at 800,000 yuan.

Prosecutors said Jiang dreamed of winning a large amount of money so that he could pay off the loan sharks, but he always lost much more than he won. The interest on the borrowed money was so high that Jiang was struggling to keep the loan sharks from turning violent. The court heard he was paying 30,000 yuan a month in interest on a 150,000 yuan loan.

Since Jiang didn't have a penny, the loan sharks began to press him for payment and threatened to kill him if he didn't pay off the loan in time.

Jiang became so scared that he turned himself to police on June 25, 2005 and confessed to fraud.

"I want to stay in prison for the rest of my life in order to save my life," he allegedly told the police.

The court said although Jiang paid all of the money he owed to the leasing company, his real aim was to cheat the company, so he was found guilty of fraud.