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Zhang Jian, the self-proclaimed “future richest man in the world” was recently arrested in Indonesia and escorted back to China.
Zhang, whose real name is Song Miqiu, is accused of running several get-rich-quick schemes in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
His latest “coin” venture's website, www.ysmwxb.com, has now become inaccessible and over 5,000 Malaysians who invested RM17.5mil in it are now left in the lurch, reports Oriental Daily.
Chinese police reportedly tracked Zhang down with help from the Indonesian police and the Chinese Embassy in Indonesia.
He was subsequently brought back to China face legal action.
Chinese police investigations revealed that Zhang had set up a trading company called Yun Shu Mao with other partners in November 2012.
The company was reportedly a front for illegal multi-level marketing schemes that involved amounts up to 600 million yuan (SGD$122 million).
China’s Hunan province police reportedly started investigating Zhang and his partners in December 2013, causing him to flee the country but continue his illegal activities in South-East Asia.
In 2014, he made headlines in Malaysia when billboards proclaiming him to be the “future richest man in the world” appeared in Penang.
He also reportedly awarded his lucky “distributors” with luxury cars.
Malaysian authorities then launched an investigation into Zhang’s company, which made him flee to Thailand instead.
Thailand police arrested Zhang, his wife Yoyo Wang Wen Fang, 29, and his right-hand man Geng Lian Bao over a pyramid scheme in Oct 27, 2014.
Over 240 million baht (SGD$9,741,758) worth of assets were seized in regards to the pyramid scheme.
Zhang was released in 2016 and some of his supporters claimed that he remained in Thailand, though his actual whereabouts were unknown.
Chinese police sent their officers to track him down several times and on March 2016, an Interpol red alert was issued on Zhang.
They also sought cooperation from police in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to investigate his 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.
About 1,000 people recently attended a charity dinner in Penang which was believed to have been organised by Zhang.
Attendees were only allowed to enter after paying an entrance fee of pay $64 (RM200), and they had to have hair dyed yellow or gold.
People who fit this description and attended the event were promised an incentive of SGD$323 (RM1,000).