- Language Tips
CHANGSHA - A court in Central China's Hunan province on Friday sentenced a man to 18 months in prison for posing as a department deputy chief of the country's economic planning agency.
The People's Court of Furong district in the city of Changsha ruled that Zou Binyong was guilty of "swindling by false pretenses" from March 2011 to December 2011.
The court upheld evidence showing that Zou posed as a deputy director of the Basic Industries Department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Zou lied about working for the NDRC at a gathering of his high school classmates in March 2010. After that, Zou was introduced by his classmates as a deputy director of the NDRC's Basic Industries Department.
To keep the lie from being exposed, Zou started to closely follow the work of the NDRC, checking the commission's website on a daily basis.
He told a Changsha contractor that he was in charge of China's infrastructure construction planning. The businessman, hoping to receive favors through government bids, offered Zou tens of thousands of yuan in bribe money.
However, a friend of the Changsha contractor found out Zhou's title was fake. The contractor reported the scam to a newspaper journalist, who later wrote a story about Zou's tricks.
The Changsha police chief read the news report and ordered an investigation into Zou. He was arrested in Changsha in June 2012.
According to the court verdict, Zou will serve 18 months behind bars.
The defendant and his lawyer were not immediately available for comment.
Also on Friday, police in the southwestern province of Yunnan said they have captured a man posing as a department head of the Research Office of the State Council.
Zhao Xiyong confessed that he faked the status.
From April 2012 to March 2013, Zhao attended dozens of seminars held by city governments in Yunnan, telling officials that he came to the province to do "research" for China's cabinet.
Last month, the official newspaper of a city in Yunnan even published a story hailing Zhao's visit.
The Research Office of the State Council called the Yunnan provincial government on March 8, saying it found reports of Zhao's visit online but that no one with that name worked in the office.
On March 19, police in Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan, launched an investigation into Zhao's scam. Zhao was arrested three days later.