Twenty-seven Chinese athletes and celebrities, including Olympic medalists Zou Kai (邹凯), Yang Wei (杨威), Yang Yun (杨云), Luo Xue Juan (罗雪娟) and soap-opera actress Wang Likun (王丽坤) were revealed to be victims in a massive real estate scam on Wednesday at Beijing's Second City Court. The culprits were two women based in Beijing, Wang Ti (王媞) and Zhu Shuangshuang (朱双双).
Wang created a false identity and pretended her parents were government officials with connections in the real estate industry. The women rented nice houses in a stylish Beijing neighborhood and claimed their network of cadres could procure the choicest estates for clients. Their victims, who seem to have youth, wealth, and perhaps a little naiveté in common, sent Wang and Zhu deposits without meeting face to face. Between 2007 and 2011, the two accumulated over ¥55 million (RMB), and $2.2 million (HKD). The scheme came to an end when they were neither able to produce the promised properties nor able to return their victims' down payments.
The two women are now on trial. In the courthouse, Wang turned around to wave at reporters, while Zhu wept quietly. When asked why so many athletes and celebrities would fall for their scheme, Ti plainly replied, "I don't know." Zhu claims she "was also deceived," professing that she had sold her own house and paid Wang ¥1.4 million (RMB), only to find out Wang did not own the property Zhu had moved into.
Video: Sina.com reports the story (in Mandarin, 3 min., 39 sec.)