Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Zhou Yongjun Sentenced for Nine Years

A local court in China has sentenced Zhou Yongjun to nine years in prison on charges of attempted fraud. He was also fined 80,000 Yuan ($11,700). The AP story describes his case as:

Details of the charges against Zhou remain murky, as is common in China's opaque legal system.

Chen says the case stems from a complaint by Hong Kong's Hang Seng bank about a suspicious request for the transfer of funds out of an account registered to Wang Xingxiang — the name in Zhou's fake passport.

The signature on the transfer form did not match that of the original account holder and the name Wang Xingxiang was placed on a money laundering watch list, according to Chen.

He said the amount of the attempted fraud was listed as $6 million Hong Kong dollars ($773,000), but declined to give other details of the case or Zhou's defense.

Zhou denied the fraud charge, saying he was the victim of bad luck and mistaken identity. He says he obtained the fake passport through an immigration agency, a common practice among Chinese exiles who often find themselves stateless after Beijing refuses to renew their passports.

Hong Kong's government refuses to comment on Zhou's case. Visitors whose travel documents do not meet requirements are usually returned to their "place of embarkation or origin," it has said in the past.

As a student leader in 1989, Zhou Yongjun has been profiled here.

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