2 Chinese nationals jailed for fraud in northern Vietnam

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A court in Hanoi on Wednesday handed down jail sentences to two Chinese men for defrauding a Vietnamese citizen out of US$100,000 by selling him fake antiques last year, VnExpress reported that day.

Zhong Tielin, 41, received an 18 years prison term, while Yang Faqing, 40, was sentenced to 17 and a half years.

They were also ordered to pay Vi To Nam, who hails from the central city of Da Nang, the money they took from him.

According to the indictment, the duo entered Vietnam together with another Chinese man, A Ling, planning to cheat Vietnamese who speak Chinese by selling them fake antiques gold bars and Buddhist statutes.

A Ling, who is still under further investigation, was supposed to seek out and contact potential targets, while Zhong and Yang posed as construction workers who discovered the antiques on the job.

Last August they contacted Nam, saying that they had construction projects in central Vietnam and were in need of a Chinese translator.

When they met, the Chinese conmen asked Nam how to authenticate the antiques, showing him a paper with ancient Chinese characters, Nam told the hearing, which was held by the Hanoi's People's Court.

A couple of days later they met Nam again, and showed him a statute and several gold bars, the Vietnamese man said.

Yang then cut one of the fake gold bars in two, giving Nam half for him to test. But the scammers had successfully swaped the fake sample for a real one as they kept Nam distracted, according to the victim.

After that they offered him the antiques for $100,000, to which Nam agreed, considering the price was $50,000 below market value, he said. Nam soon discovered that they were fake, but the group had left immediately after the transaction concluded at a Hanoi hotel.

Zhong and Yang received $30,000 each from A Ling, and returned to China by road.

They were not arrested until two months later when they were trying to cheat Do Thai Han, a 35-year-old lawyer in Hanoi, out of $125,000, using the same scam.

Han, who heads a law firm, informed police as he found the Chinese people suspicious. 

According to investigators, the group also unsuccessfully attempted to cheat the head of a pagoda in Hanoi.

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