company, remember, that invented the cellphone. Those days are over.
What went wrong?
AS a Penangite, I am always asked by my colleagues and friends in the Klang Valley why is it that most get-rich-quick schemes are located in the island state and the investors mostly its citizens.
I have asked that same question myself, since I’ve heard enough stories of relatives and friends who have been entangled in this web of financial crookery.
It’s not something new. It used to be called the pyramid scheme and Ponzi but, like most, it is just another scam. The new term is ‘money game’ and it’s probably called this to warn new participants that there will be winners and losers, like in any other game.
However, no one is listening because most people are merely interested in the quick returns from their investments.
There are some reasons why Penang lang (Hokkein for people) have warmed up to these quick-rich con jobs.
Penang is a predominantly Chinese state and rightly or wrongly, the appetite for risk there is higher. Some may dismiss risk as a euphemism for gambling, but the bottom line is, many of its denizens are prepared to roll the dice.
Given that there are so few police reports lodged against operators, despite the huge number of investors, indicates the readiness of these players to try their luck.
They clearly are aware of the element of risk involved when they lay their money down, but the huge returns override any rational thinking. No risk, no gain, they probably tell themselves.
Making police reports against operators also runs the risk of “investors” getting their money stuck if the accounts of the scammers are frozen.
Risk-taking is nothing new to many Penangites. This is a state with a horse-racing course and plenty of gaming outlets. Is it any surprise then that a spat is currently playing out between politicians over allegations that illegal gaming outlets are thriving there?
One politician believes the state government does not have the authority to issue gambling licences and “to single out Penang also ignores the fact that gambling is under the Federal Government’s jurisdiction. We don’t issue such licences.”
It’s bizarre because no one issues permits to illegal gaming outlets. That’s why they are called illegal.
But there are some fundamental sociological explanations to this fixation on earning extra money in the northern state.
The cost of living has gone up there … and everywhere, too. For the urban middle class, it is a monthly struggle managing the wages – after the deductions – settling the housing and car loans, and accounting for household items such as food, petrol, utility and tuition for the children.
The cost of living in Penang may be lower than that in the Klang Valley, but it is not cheap either. Any local will tell you that the portion of char koay teow has shrunk, although the price remains the same.
But unlike the Klang Valley, where career development and opportunities are greater, the same cannot be said of the island state.
Many of us who were born and brought up in Penang, moved to Kuala Lumpur because we were aware of the shortage of employment opportunities there.
We readily sacrificed so much, moving away from our parents and friends, relinquishing the relaxed way of life and the good food for a “harder” life in the Klang Valley. We paid the price for wanting a better life.
Job advancement means better salaries, but in Penang, where employers have a smaller base, they are unable to match the kind of pay packages offered in KL.
So, an extra few hundred ringgit from such investments does make a lot of difference to the average wage earner.
It is not unusual for many in the federal capital to take a second job to ensure they can balance their finances.
I don’t think many Penangites expect to be millionaires, at least not that quickly, although JJPTR has become a household acronym since hitting the market in the last two years. As most Malaysians by now know, it stands for JJ Poor-to-Rich, the name resonating well with middle class families.
Its founder, Johnson Lee, with his squeaky clean, boyish looks, assured over 400,000 people of his 20% monthly pay-outs and even more incredibly, convinced many that billions of ringgit vanished due to a hacking job.
Then came Richway Global Venture, Change Your Life (CYL) and BTC I-system, among others. And almost like clockwork, Penang has now earned the dubious reputation of being the base for get-rich-quick schemes.
Having written this article while in Penang, I found out this issue continues to be the hottest topic in town, despite the recent crackdowns by the authorities.
My colleague Tan Sin Chow recently reported in the northern edition of The Star that “money games are on the minds of many Penangites.”
On chat groups with friends and former schoolmates, it has certainly remained very much alive.
Tan wrote: “Another friend, Robert, had a jolt when, a doctor he knew, told patients to put their money into such a scheme. A doctor!
“From the cleaners at his office to the hawkers and professionals he met, everyone, it seems, was convinced. None questioned how the high returns could come to fruition in such a short time.”
We can be sure that these get-rich-quick scheme operators will lie low for a while, but the racket will surface again, in a different form and under a different name.
There is no substitute for honest, hard work. Money doesn’t fall from the sky, after all.
Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.
On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.
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MCOIN is still very much a talking point, especially in Penang. To the uninitiated, it is the “digital currency” of MBI International, a company involved in a myriad of activities and hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons after being flagged as one of the entities not recognised by Bank Negara.
Since Bank Negara’s warning two weeks ago, the company’s accounts amounting to some RM177mil have been frozen. The cash in question is significantly much more than the previous major scheme that came under probe by Bank Negara and other agencies.
In 2012, the authorities froze RM99.8mil in bank accounts of Genneva Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Also, 126kg of gold were carted away from the office. It has been five years and the investors, most of them ordinary wage earners looking to earn an extra buck from their savings, have yet to receive their money.
One of the reasons is likely that the liabilities of Genneva Malaysia are 10 times more than the assets recovered.
MBI International, which is primarily based in Penang, has a network stretching up to China. According to reports, it has come under pressure from some investors wanting a return of their money.
However, outlets in M Mall in Penang are still accepting Mcoin for the purchase of goods and services. There is no rush to cash out, as one would have expected, considering that the accounts of MBI International have been frozen.
Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time before the value of Mcoin and the ability of MBI International to return money to its investors is put to the test.
Based on previous events that led to companies having their bank accounts seized by the central bank, it would be a long time before the investors are able to retrieve their cash.
There are some who are completely ignorant of the new global order of currencies and money, making comparisons between Mcoin and the rise of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
If anybody is harbouring any hope that the value of Mcoin would rise just like the phenomenal bull run seen in the world of cryptocurrency, they had better stop dreaming.
There are fundamental differences between instruments such as Mcoin, which in essence is a token to redeem goods at a few outlets, compared to cryptocurrency that is fast gaining traction as an alternative currency around the world.
Mcoin has unlimited supply and its value is controlled by one entity. How the value is derived is not clear.
In contrast, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have a limited supply. And the supply is decentralised – meaning no one entity controls the supply. There is a ledger that tracks all transactions and measures the amount of supply and how much more is available.
The objective of the people behind cryptocurrency is to come up with a currency that is not controlled by central banks. New supply can only come about after hours of a process called `mining’.
The mining process is a complicated one. It involves many hours of programming and utilising high computing skills to predict the next chain in the block of coins. The data used is based on historical transactions and it is said that one block is created every 10 minutes.
Only one successful miner is rewarded with a slice of the cryptocurrency at any one time. He or she can then transact it in an exchange.
The first cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which began operating in January 2009.
Bitcoin is only one of the hundreds of cryptocurrencies in existence. There are many more new coins coming up, improving on the technology pioneered by Satoshi Nakamoto.
Nobody knows who is Satoshi or if he really exists. However, the legend is that he wanted a currency that is not under the control of central banks, hence the birth of Bitcoin, the first decentralised currency.
The market capitalisation of all cryptocurrency was US$27bil as of April this year – four times more than what the value was in January this year.
Much of the rise is attributed to the volatile US dollar. A few years ago, if anybody had said that cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin would be used to hedge against the US dollar, many would have laughed it off.
Today, however, it is the reality.
The cryptocurrency fever has picked up in China, which has the largest number of “miners” in the world. One reason is said to be because some see it as one way to take capital out of the country.
In India, when the government decided to demonetise the popular 1,000 and 500 rupee notes, there was a 50% increase in the trading of Bitcoin, as people saw it as one way to legalise their black money.
Bitcoin soared past the US$2,500 mark last week, which is a four-fold increase since January this year. There are many other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, that are all seeing a bull run.
The world of cryptocurrency has taken a life of its own. Computer geeks with “blockchain” expertise, the technology that drives the decentralisation settlements of cryptocurrency, are commanding more than US$250,000 per annum.
It is said to be more than what a consultant or a software engineer can earn.
Those who have put their money into cryptocurrency would be laughing all the way to the bank now. But dynamics and fundamentals are complicated. The strength of the cryptocurrency is not based on historical numbers. It does not have an asset backing it.
It is based on future expectations of what the designer of the cryptocurrency offers. It is a complicated investment not meant for the unsophisticated investor.
Only fools will go for investment schemes that are unregulated and offer promises of returns that are unsustainable. They will lose all the time.
The smart investor will rely on traditional stocks and shares with earnings that are visible. Those who are not greedy will surely gain.
The super-smart geeks are banking on the world of cryptocurrency that has a volatile history. Their fate is uncertain.
Source: The Star by M. Shanmugam
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GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan has questioned the efficiency of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as the chairman of numerous state-linked agencies and departments.
Its publicity bureau chief Ooi Zhi Yi said that besides being the chief minister, the Bagan MP and Air Putih assemblyman chairs 11 agencies and departments.
“He was recently also appointed chairman of the Penang Stadium Corporation And Open Spaces at the state assembly sitting,” he said.
Ooi asked what had happened to the DAP’s decentralisation of administration and power-sharing policy which it claimed to advocate?
“Is Lim able to handle various responsibilities in different agencies and departments simultaneously?
“Why can’t the state government identify any state executive councillor or assemblyman to hold some of the posts?” he further asked at a press conference at the Gerakan headquarters yesterday
The 11 state agencies and departments which Lim heads are the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), PBA Holdings Bhd (PBAHB) and its unit Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang (PBAPP), Penang Global Tourism (PGT), Penang Hill Corporation (PHC), Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB), George Town World Heritage Inc (GTWHI), the Penang State Museum, investPenang and two subsidiaries under PDC namely the BPO Premier Sdn Bhd and Premier Horizon Ventures Snd Bhd.
When contacted yesterday, Wong Hon Wai, who is Lim’s political secretary, said it is a customary process for a state leader to hold important positions in all the government statutory bodies.
“It is similar to how the Prime Minister and Mentri Besar chair important government bodies,” he explained. – Tbe Star
GEORGE TOWN: The MCA wants the Penang government to create a check-and-balance to counter the Chief Minister’s influence in 19-state linked agencies, statutory bodies and government subsidiaries which he helms.
Penang MCA organising secretary Dr Tan Chuan Hong said the mechanism must include NGOs such as the Penang Forum, Consumers Association of Penang and Penang Heritage Trust.
He said the NGOs should have the right to oppose and express their views whenever needed.
He said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had in a written reply to Sungai Dua assemblyman Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor at the recent state legislative assembly sitting revealed that he was the chairman of 19 bodies.
“This is not only shocking but also contradicts the CAT principles of Competency, Accountability and Transparency which the DAP-led state claims to practise.
“Where is a person’s credibility if he holds all positions which are closely associated with his position as chief minister. And what about the power-sharing principle advocated by the state government?” Tan asked.
He said since Lim ‘monopolised’ most of the chairman positions, state exco members such as Chow Kon Yeow, Danny Law and Jagdeep Singh seemed to be given merely supplementary roles to play.
Among the bodies helmed by Lim are the Penang Development Corp (PDC), Penang Global Tourism, PICEB Sdn Bhd, PGC Strategies Sdn Bhd, Penang Water Supply Corp Bhd (PBAPP), PBA Holdings Bhd, Penang Hill Corp, Invest Penang and the state museum board.
He gets an annual RM10,000 allowance as PDC chairman, RM3,000 monthly allowance as PBAPP chairman and RM500 monthly allowance as PBA Holdings Bhd chairman.
Lim also gets allowances which range from RM250 to RM500 per meeting that he attends in some of the statutory bodies and subsidiaries that he helms. – The Star
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CAN money grow on fruit trees?
Yes, that is as far as Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek is concerned.
After witnessing the signing of a deal worth US$1.53bil (RM6.65bil) between Malaysia’s AgroFresh International and China’s Dashang Group for the export of local Cavendish bananas and tropical fruits to China, he said:
“Money does grow on fruit trees if our agriculture products could open up China’s market.”
The deal was part of the nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements, with value totalling more than US$7.22bil (RM31.26bil), which were signed between Malaysian and Chinese companies on May 14.
But Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, International Trade and Industry Minister II, sees more money flooding in once Malaysia is linked up with other Asean nations, China and Europe via rail connection under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, now termed as the New Silk Road project.
“Our trade figures can jump by three to four folds once Malaysia can export and import goods to our major trade partners (such as China, Europe and Middle East) overland via rail systems,” he tells Sunday Star.
Both ministers are among Cabinet members in the Malaysian delegation led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing from May 14 to 15.
Malaysia is one of the 64 countries outside China that have benefited from the Belt and Road Initiative, propounded by Chinese President Xi Jinping in the autumn of 2013.
One project to be launched soon will be the RM55bil East Coast Rail Link. Examples of existing projects include Xiamen University and the deepening of Kuantan Port.
At the opening ceremony of the forum, Xi injected fresh impetus to his pet project by announcing hundreds of billions in new funds for infrastructure investment in Belt and Road countries that span Asia, Middle East and Europe.
According to some estimates, Chinese funds allocated for investing in Belt and Road countries – which include several exiting funds announced since 2013 – total around US$900bil (about RM4 trillion) now.
“Model of regional cooperation”
From Mongolia to Malaysia, Thailand to Pakistan and Laos to Uzbekistan, many projects, including high-speed railways, bridges, ports, industrial parks, oil pipelines and power grids, are being built, Xi said.
Since 2013, Chinese private businesses have invested more than US$60bil (RM260bil) in countries along the Belt and Road, in addition to the US$50bil invested by the Chinese government.
Xi’s speech also reveals that China will expand China-Europe railway cargo services, which are stirring up excitement in European nations – particularly Britain.
Belt-road: Ong signing Belt and Road MoU with Vice Chairman of National Development and Reform Commission of China Zhong Yong on May 13, 2017. Witnessing are Najib and China’s Premier Li Keqiang.
Calling his brand of globalisation as “project of the century” to achieve a win-win situation for all, Xi has committed to importing US$2 trillion (RM8.7bil) of goods from the 64 Belt and Road countries – many of which are under-developed and impoverished nations hungry for infrastructure and industrial investments.
The Chinese leader’s pledge of “non-interference” with the domestic politics of other countries is comforting, given that there are concerns that China could aim to be a hegemony with its economic and military might.
“What we hope is to create a big family where we can co-exist harmoniously,” Xi said last Sunday in his speech that also focused on connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people.
The forum is by far the most important and largest meeting on the Belt and Road Initiative since 2013.
About 130 countries were represented at the forum and they accounted for two thirds of the world’s population. Their combined gross domestic product accounts for 90% of the world’s total, according to Xinhua.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, regards the Belt and Road Initiative as “a shining model for regional collaboration, development and growth”.
“This initiative respects the differences between countries and their various paths for development, not imposing a specific plan or ideological framework, but seeking to create common ground for cooperation and mutual benefit,” Schwab told Xinhua.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, also told Xinhua: “China will play a very important role in multi-lateralism with the Belt and Road. The initiative reflects a new model of international cooperation and interaction with mutually beneficial cooperation through the connection of policies and development strategies.”
And Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, shared: “The initiative goes far beyond the economic strategy of any single country or region. Its mission is to make the world more innovative, dynamic, and equal.”
Big step: Fernandes is excited that China has allowed AirAsia to be the first low-cost carrier to set up shop in the Middle Kingdom.
AirAsia deal – another first in China
On the sideline of the forum, Malaysian and Chinese leaders took the opportunity to clinch more agreements that brought bilateral ties to another new high.
While the deals signed last November were far more than this round and higher in total value, the Chinese Government continued to grant “first” to Malaysia. This was reflected in a project given to Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, group chief executive officer and founder of AirAsia Bhd. Soon, the sky will see AirAsia China.
“It is the first time a foreign airline is given permission to establish and operate a low-cost carrier in China. We are the first country to be granted such licence,” Najib told reporters at the conclusion of his visit to China.
AirAsia is establishing a joint venture with China Everbright Group, with an initial stake of 22%. However, AirAsia may raise its stake in future.
China Everbright is a government-owned financial services conglomerate, which is a major shareholder in China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd and the Henan Government Working Group.
The plan is to set up AirAsia China to be based in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, to ply domestic and international flights.
“Tony Fernandes was very excited because he was able to meet the top transport and aviation officials, whom he could not secure appointments with previously. He has been working on this project for years,” a minister told Sunday Star.
Other Cabinet ministers are also upbeat after attending the Belt and Road Forum.
“I have witnessed the fruits of the close diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China, and between Najib and Xi Jinping during this trip,” says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who signed a MoU on infrastructure cooperation with China.
“In China, economic developments are influenced by government policies. Now that our leaders have good ties with China, it is very timely for Malaysian businessmen to enter China, and vice versa,” he tells Sunday Star.
Important talks: Liow (second from left) leading a Malaysian delegation at a meeting with his Chinese counterpart at China’s Transport Ministry in Beijing on May 12 morning. From left are Transport Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Chua Kok Ching, MCA vice president Datuk Dr Hou Kok Chung and Fernandes.
“We have to promote economic growth fast enough so that we can harvest the fruits of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“The opportunities for Malaysia to develop the infrastructure and boost economic growth would not be available if not for the Belt and Road Initiative pushed forward by China,” he adds.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong observes: “There are quite a number of business-to-business MoUs signed during this trip, in addition to the nine witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“I was also invited to attend many discussions and meetings, sometimes I had to have many meals a day! (as discussions were held over meals).”
Wee, whose ministerial portfolio covers development of Chinese small and medium enterprises (SMEs), has personally requested Ma to reduce charges for Malaysian SMEs when they use Alibaba’s platform to sell products.
Ma, an e-commerce wizard and China’s second richest man, is expected to give consideration to the proposal as he has pledged to help Malaysia develop its digital economy. Ma will set up the Asean data centre in Malaysia before the end of the year.
Analysing Belt and Road Initiative, Shabery Cheek says: “Belt and Road is a different form of cooperation from other pacts, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and World Trade Organisation (WTO). Those emphasised on what goods were tax-free and what were not, which sectors to open up and which could not. Essentially, they focused on how to protect the self-interests of individual countries.
“However, the Belt and Road talks about infrastructure networking, which is very important. They take the cue from the ancient Silk Road, which was not only a channel to transport goods, but also to spread Islam and Buddhism. That is a great thing.”
Source: Sunday Star by Ho Wah FoonTho Xin Yi
Trade can be boosted several fold
PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has begun its investigation into alleged improprieties involving Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), a day after its group president and CEO Datuk Zakaria Arshad was told to take an indefinite leave of absence.
The MACC took a statement from Zakaria, who was called to its headquarters here yesterday.
The commission’s next move will be to send investigators to FGV headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to “see what they can find” and determine if there is a case.
Zakaria, 57, arrived at the MACC headquarters at 2.20pm alone, with no lawyers or associates accompanying him.
He brought along a stack of files, which he claimed were documents on FGV.
Zakaria looked calm when he arrived and maintained the same demeanour when he left some four hours later.
“The MACC asked me to come today. I’m also here to hand over some documents to them,” he told reporters, adding that his session was not over.
“I will be called again to give my statement, and I will give my full co-operation.”
MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki told The Star: “We will go through his statement and will decide what to do next.”
Azam also confirmed that anti-graft investigators would go to FGV headquarters at 10am today to get hold of more documents.
On Tuesday, Zakaria and three other FGV officers were asked to take a leave of absence, which chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said was a decision made by the board.
The other three are FGV chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha, FGV Trading CEO Ahmad Salman Omar and Delima Oil Products senior general manager Kamarzaman Abd Karim.
The board’s decision came a day after Zakaria was told to resign by Isa following a series of board meetings since May 31 concerning delayed payments owed to Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd by Safitex Trading LLC, an Afghan company with an array of businesses and headquartered in Dubai.
Zakaria subsequently urged the MACC to investigate allegations of improprieties in FGV and asked the commission to probe the parties behind the contracts.
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PETALING JAYA: Self-proclaimed “future richest man in the world” Zhang Jian was arrested in Indonesia and escorted back to China where he will face legal action.
Zhang, whose real name is Song Miqiu, is believed to be the mastermind behind several get-rich-quick schemes in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
The http://www.ysmwxb.com website of Wu Xin Bi – Zhang’s latest “coin” venture – is now inaccessible and over 5,000 Malaysians with RM17.5mil invested are now left in the lurch, reported Oriental Daily.
Sin Chew Daily reported that according to mainland Chinese media, Chinese police tracked Zhang down with help from their Indonesian counterparts and the Chinese Embassy in the country.
He was brought back to China yesterday.
Chinese police investigations revealed that Zhang had set up a trading company called Yun Shu Mao with other partners in November 2012 as a front for illegal multi-level marketing schemes, involving up to 600mil yuan (RM376.63mil).
Police in China’s Hunan province began investigating Zhang and his partners in December 2013, reported Sin Chew.
Zhang immediately fled the country but continued his illegal activities in South-East Asia.
He made headlines in the Malaysian media in 2014 when billboards of him appeared in Penang, proclaiming him to be the “future richest man in the world”.
He also awarded his lucky “distributors” with luxury cars.
The country’s Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry then launched an investigation into Zhang’s company but he fled to Thailand.
On Oct 27, 2014, Thai police arrested Zhang, his wife Yoyo Wang Wen Fang, 29, and his right-hand man Geng Lian Bao over a pyramid scheme and seized assets worth 240mil baht (RM30mil).
After Zhang’s release in 2016, some supporters claimed that he remained in Thailand but his actual whereabouts then were a mystery.
Chinese police sent their officials to track him down several times and even issued an Interpol red alert on Zhang in March 2016.
They also sought cooperation from police in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to investigate Zhang’s activities.
Recently, Zhang was seen making a comeback in Malaysia to promote Wu Xin Bi, a coin which he claimed had investment value on the Internet. – The Star
ZHANG Jian, founder of money game scheme YSLM and the self proclaimed “future richest man in the world”, was arrested in Indonesia, finally.
Zhang has enjoyed a demigod status among his followers ever since he first started the business. He was uplifted as an ultra-smart man who went to the university at the age of nine and decoded bank passwords at 12. He was also said to be well versed in six languages.
But the question is whether he is no better than a master con man.
Zhang is well known in Malaysia, and the YSLM that made a landfall in this country three years ago almost turned the country upside down.
In the pretext of charity, he and his team made generous donations to local Chinese primary schools and independent high schools to win the hearts of the public and for their own publicity. He once offered RM350,000 to a single Chinese primary school in Negri Sembilan.
After his release from a Phuket prison, Zhang went on with his usual tactic of bribing government officials and counterfeiting identification documents to move around South-East Asia. That nevertheless would not stop him from running his money game business by manipulating the wuxingbi scam through WeChat, smartphone and the Internet while staying largely out of the public eye.
His YSLM has sucked up 600mil yuan (RM380mil) of public funds in China, while his wuxingbi is actually another virtual coin scheme operating on a people-get-people model.
He knew how to command public attention, spending 30,000 yuan (RM18,834) each on young women to get them to shave their heads and act like nuns to promote wuxingbi at various functions and events. He even organised a “nun wedding party” in China.
He promised anyone purchasing a 5,000 yuan (RM3,139) wuxingbi to bag in 4mil yuan (RM2.5mil) of returns within a year. The unimaginable 800-fold returns were way higher than what recently collapsed money game schemes could think of offering their investors. Unfortunately, many have chosen to believe in him, especially in China.
Even as money games has become so rampant in this country, our enforcement authorities appear to be always a few steps behind in their actions.
Extensive coverage in Sin Chew Daily has doubtlessly killed the get-rich dreams of many avid investors. These scammers are never short of cash, and are always ready to hire well-known law firms to send us legal letters in an attempt to gag the media.
With Zhang now escorted back to China to face legal action, perhaps it is time for wuxingbi investors here to wake up. — Sin Chew Daily/Asia News Network
Source: The Star by Pook Ah Lek
Pook Ah Lek is Editorial Director with Sin Chew Daily. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.