'Future richest man' arrested
CHINESE national Zhang Jian, the self-proclaimed "future richest man in the world", has been arrested in Thailand.
According to Thai daily The Nation, he was arrested by local police over a pyramid scheme that reportedly duped people in China and Malaysia out of 6 billion bhat (S$235,000) and 3 billion bhat respectively.
The police are looking for Thais who may have been caught up in the scheme, which was launched in June.
The daily also reported that Bangkok police arrested Song Miqui, 37, and Wang Wenfang, 29, at a condominium in Pathumwan on Monday. The police also seized assets from the three suspects worth 240 million bhat in total.
Among the assets seized were cash in various currencies worth nearly 1 million bhat in total, five Phuket land sale contracts worth 22.3 million bhat, two Phuket land title deeds, Wang's bank account with 1.5 million bhat in it, and the suspects' Thai identity cards.
The 26-year-old Zhang, who founded the controversial YSLM multi-level marketing business, began a 100-day temporary ordination programme at a temple in Phuket in early August.
In early July, he made headlines in the Malaysian media when billboards of him appeared in Penang, proclaiming himself as the "future richest man in the world".
He also rewarded his lucky "distributors" with luxury cars.
Malaysia's Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry had launched an investigation into YSLM - also known as Yun Shu Mao - over links to a get-rich-quick scam before Zhang left for Thailand.
The company later offered a refund to those who had not introduced any new members to the company.
Hundreds of people accepted the offer.
Malaysia's opposition Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng said that the Malaysian government should work with Interpol to bring Zhang and his associates back to be charged in Malaysia.
"The man and everyone associated with him should be caught, have their assets frozen and charged here," he said in Parliament yesterday.
Mr Lim also questioned why Zhang, who has been operating his pyramid scheme business for the past two years, was not caught while he was in Malaysia.
"He was in Thailand for only two months and he was already arrested. Why is it that he was not arrested when he was still here?" he asked.
Earlier, Mr Lim questioned Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hasan Malek on the status of the investigation into CDTUP International, which is said to be linked to Zhang's "get-rich-fast" scheme.
In a written answer, Mr Hasan said that six investigations have been initiated against CDTUP International and YSLM.
According to the reply, one of the cases is already in court, with a company director granted bail at RM200,000 (S$78,000).
Two other cases have been referred to the public prosecutors and three others are still under investigation.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK