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Sports bureaux take blame for lottery fraud
By Ma Lie (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-13 01:05

Two sports lottery officials in Northwest Shaanxi Province who are being blamed for the Xi'an lottery fraud case were fired on Tuesday.

The Shaanxi Provincial Sports Bureau held a general staff meeting before ordering Jia Anqing, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Sports Lottery Management Centre to hand in his resignation.

Zhang Yongmin, deputy director of the sports lottery centre, who was directly in charge of sports lottery sales, was also suspended and ordered to examine his mistakes.

"My bureau has sent a five-person working group to the sports lottery centre to help them create comprehensive regulations to ensure the proper operation of the sports lottery," said Li Minghua, director of the Shaanxi Provincial Sports Bureau.

Li said the bureau has also sent an investigative group to the centre to see if there was corruption or illegal practices in the case.

On the same day, the Municipal Sports Bureau of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province,ordered Fan Hong, director of Xi'an Sports Lottery Management Centre, to hand in his resignation.

Li said her bureau would draw a deep lesson from the fraud perpetuated in the case, and would make every effort to rectify the lottery's image.

"With the investigation by police, my bureau and staff will co-operate to provide any information we know to the local police and the procuratorate," Li said.

The sports lottery fraud case started on March 23 this year when Liu Liang, a young man who got a top prize on the sales site of the sports lottery held in downtown Xi'an.

The March sports lottery sales was approved by the Shaanxi Provincial Sports Lottery Management Centre and organized by Xi'an Sports Lottery Management Centre.

But the whole activity of the lottery sales was controlled by Yang Yongming, a private businessman who contracted with Shaanxi Provincial Sports Lottery Centre to sell sports lottery tickets.

Yang Yongming wanted to profit from the lottery sales. He decided to keep all the four top prizes of March lottery sales -- each worth 120,000 yuan (US$14,500) and four new BMW cars each worth 480,000 yuan (US$58,000).

His cheating was nearly successful, but Yang made a mistake in secretly changing an envelope containing the winning number. As a result, Liu Liang received one of the top prizes.

Yang did not want Liu to take the top prize and then said Liu's ticket was a fake. Liu claimed his ticket, kept at the centre, had been secretly exchanged. The case attracted great attention of the local media and residents and later, local police were called in to investigate.

At present, Yang and his two co-conspirators have been detained, and local police are still making efforts to find the other suspect who escaped after the incident came to light.

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