A 25-year-old man was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday by a Beijing court after he was charged with disguising himself as a beautiful woman to deceive a trusting businessman to the tune of 200,000RMB in the past ten months.
The defendant surnamed Zhang confessed in court that he first got in touch with the businessman surnamed Song via WeChat last April. Zhang told Song that he was a 22-year-old woman named Jiang Wei.
“I found women can get more attention, so I pretended to be a girl and continued to talk with Song,” Zhang was quoted as saying in the report.
Not long after, Song developed a crush on Zhang through frequent chatting on the phone and on WeChat. As the two became “lovers,” Zhang made up various excuses to ask Song for money.
Zhang said he didn’t consider swindling money out of Song’s pockets until last June, when he became eager to enroll in a language class. He then fabricated an excuse to ask Song for 100,000RMB. Song immediately transferred the funds to him. After that, Zhang kept asking for more.
“I didn’t suspect he was a man in the beginning, as many of my customers are female,” Song explains. “His voice sounded like a girl’s and he sent me pictures of a young beautiful woman, so I kept giving him money.”
Song finally asked his online girlfriend to prove that he was not deceiving him in March after the money requests started to become a bit questionable. Zhang then disguised himself as “Jiang’s neighbor” to meet with Song in Beijing and told Song that his beloved Jiang Wei was not a cheater, but she had been hospitalized recently after tragically falling into a coma due to illness.
The astute businessman found this “neighbor’s” voice to be just like a girl—sounding strikingly similar to his cherished Jiang Wei—and reported the man to the police.
According to the Beijing Times, Zhang was born in 1990 in Shenyang, Liaoning province and had studied at a university in Beijing for one year before dropping out of school to reduce his family’s financial burden.
That plan didn’t quite work out. Zhang’s family now has to sell everything they own. Already they have given Song 150,000RMB in compensation and have promised another 100,000RMB within the year.
Still, there is a happy ending to this story as Song says that he has forgiven Zhang.
By Lucy Liu
[Images Beijing Times]