Pay RM300 and get rich? Maybe not
FORK out RM300 (S$117) and then just sit around - and you may become a millionaire. That's the rather unlikely multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme Chinese businessman Zhang Jian - who claims he is the future richest man on earth - is pushing in the country.
It sounds very good. But why is a "successful" businessman with such a vast market like China coming to a small market like Malaysia?
The Chinese Embassy in Malaysia says the company has been banned in China and its 26-year-old founder has been hauled up by police there five times.
The man has now moved his operations to this part of the world, and his face has been appearing in giant billboards promoting his get-rich-quick scheme.
The company's ads on the Internet tell people that they can earn big money and drive fancy cars without having to work. It also boasts of creating millionaires around the world.
By merely investing RM300, investors are guaranteed an income of between RM2,700 and RM6,800 per month - without lifting a finger.
Police sources believe there could be criminal elements behind the scheme.
Online checks showed that Zhang Jian may be the alias of the founder of a ponzi scheme called Yun Shu Mao in China.
A check on several Chinese websites showed that netizens in China have posted an excerpt of an article on the top 10 MLM cases from the website of China's Public Security Bureau and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, in which it was stated that the operator of a Yun Shu Mao website was reaping huge fees from investors who were promised huge rewards.
The article reported that the Chinese authorities said the scheme had expanded to 28 provinces and involved 190,000 people and that in August last year, police in eight provinces detained 33 people involved in the scheme.
Some claimed that the founder of Yun Shu Mao changed his name to Zhang Jian and had since fled to Malaysia.
Victims are attracted to the scheme as it promised them luxury cars and cash within a short period. According to an ad placed by the company, a member has to pay RM300 to sign up.
For members he recruits, he will be paid RM50 per person until the sixth level.
Beyond the sixth level, the member will have to top up his membership fee to a maximum of RM30,000 to continue enjoying the benefits.
Members are also promised stock returns - through e-shares - and luxury items, including BMW cars - through lucky draws - when they reached a certain stage of recruitment.
Meanwhile, a 15-minute video clip on YouTube shows the businessman telling an interviewer that Malaysia was chosen because of its multilingual population.
He said his business model is based on the MLM scheme, adding that 10 per cent of China's richest men gained their wealth online.
"Last year, it took us only nine months to get 30 million members. This year, we broke the record, hitting 100 million," he said in the interview released on March 19 this year.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK