An unlicensed orphanage in Hebei only operated for some 20 days before getting busted for employing 20 children to act as orphans in a fundraising event, local official said on Tuesday.
The head of the orphanage, situated in Jing County, Hebe,i contacted a Shandong-based company through WeChat early last month. The executive with the company, Shengdahuatian Group, visited the orphanage and promised to set up a charity foundation and donate 500,000 yuan.
The company on June 25 hosted a grand money-raising event, inviting 21 orphans from the orphanage including 15 boys and six girls, Shanghai Daily reports.
“I don’t have parents, you all are my parents,” the orphan representative said on stage, wowing the audience, and eventually raising some 17,000 yuan from the company staff.
However, immediately after the event, the head of the orphanage demanded all the 517,000 yuan donations in cash. After the company explained that they needed to follow their own financial procedures, the orphanage head became anxious, saying that the children would not leave until the money was handed over.
Head of the orphanage was seen crying.
He later admitted that there was indeed only one genuine orphan, and that 20 of them were being paid 500 yuan to pretend.
Orphanage staff slapped their own faces.
Although the orphanage admitted to committing the scam, police said no fraud case could be established for they had not received any money.
The orphanage was set up in an abandoned school with a nursing home for the elderly next door. The recruited “orphans” who came from nearby villages had returned home with their families after the scandal came to light.
[Images via Shehui China]
By Joyce Ng