A Shanghai court has sentenced three men to prison for defrauding six victims of 1.7 million RMB (US$275,000) in a fake drug and surgery scam, reports the Shanghai Daily.
In an audacious and nefarious scheme, the culprits illicitly obtained the medical records of their victims, who they would then contact and offer fake medication and illusory medical procedures—cheating some out of hundreds of thousands of yuan.
A Shanghai man suffering from a hearing impediment fell prey to this cruel trick in 2013 when he received a phone call from a man pretending to a doctor at Peking Union Medical College Hospital. This credulous casualty of the scam was duped into purchasing bogus medication (which the perpetrators made themselves then sold off as traditional Chines medicine) and swindled out of 400,000 RMB (US$65,000) to pay for surgery that he would never receive. Suspecting fraud when he later could not reach the man he had spoken to at the hospital, the man contacted police—who eventually managed to bring down the racket.
The gang had also extorted 800,000 RMB (US$130,000) from a Henan man through a number of electronic transfers between Octover 2013 and February 2014. The men, who are all in their twenties and come from Jiangxi province, were each sentenced to between eight and 12 years imprisonment.
This is yet another case that gives us some serious trust issues when it comes to doctors in China. If you can even be certain of the legitimacy of your doctor’s credentials—and that they’re not just some dodgy dealer in disguise fleecing you of your hard-earned money—you still may wish to double-check that your ‘secret prescription’ isn’t actually sperm.
By Liam Bourke