Those scam emails that show up in your email box that tend to come from Nigeria have migrated to China. Imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox recently and a “disgraced” customs minister emailed me (lil’ ole me!) looking for a partner to share his illicitly secured funds. It was the big break I was looking for: a corrupt official looking to team up with an expat for a big money opportunity. And it seems so different than those frauds people get sucked into! Nothing could possibly go wrong!!
Well, I looked up the official’s name. It turns out he actually is a fairly important person, although I couldn’t find anything about the alleged illegal activity. At first I thought they meant either Cao Wenzhuang or Zheng Xiaoyu the two Chinese officials sentenced to death for taking bribes to turn a blind eye to safety issues in food and medicine. However the author seems to have picked a random member of the government. I guess if they have already been arrested they wouldn’t be that useful, right?
Below is the text of the email with small parts blanked out. I removed the name since he is innocent of any wrongdoing to my knowledge. Below the email I have a few comments about it.
I want to apologise for contacting you through this manner. My name is [official’s name] ([official title]).
Forgive me if you see my business proposal as shameful and not honourable because of my governmental status.But please excuse me and understand that this is the situation I am and must find a credible partner outside China preferably in the western world where i intend to invest and help charity.
In my years of government service as Narcotics Control Commission and General Adminstration of Customs, I have received kick backs from smugglers and business people seeking favours from me and as a public officer my bank accounts are monitored hence I kept the funds Thirty Five million united states dollars for safe keeping abroad.
I want you to receive the money which has been in deposit since the last Two years.When the money is in your bank account, I want to use Thirty Percent of the money for charity to help orphanage Children suffering (You will spare head this project and my name will not be mentioned).You will receive Twenty Percent as your commission and I will take the remaining fifty Percent as my share which I intend to settle with in your country.
Please consider this proposal and reply to me soon. It will certainly do you no good to report me to my government authorities or give out this information to anybody because doing so will only destroy my person and my career.
I will send you more details when you reply to my message.
Awaiting hearing from you soonest.
A few things I noticed. I fancy myself I bit of an amateur detective (and legal expert) since I watch a lot of Law and Order. First, he seems to favor British spellings. I have no idea what to make of this since the criminals on L&A are invariably American, British nannies, or Japanese gangsters). Second, I thought it was a nice touch that 30% of the stolen funds are designate for charity. That way you think, “Well I’m helping a corrupt official, but I’m doing it for the poor orphans, so it can’t be all bad!” Very convincing. Finally, something I did not yet mention is that the email was addressed to “Undisclosed Recipients”. In other words, this official that supposedly could be put to death for corruption sent it out to his entire Facebook mailing list, with ‘his own name’ on it. Not exactly the subtlest tactic. He didn’t use his ministry email account if you were wondering, although that would have been pretty convincing [that I was dealing with a moron].
Anyway, if he ends up getting indicted you heard it here first, and if you want to cash in on this bonanza just wire 10,000 dollars into my offshore account and I’ll make sure to put you in touch with him as soon as I get back from Thailand. It’s great to see that China’s bribery scandals are turning the country into a logic place to base a bizarre email-corruption scam story.
Think I don’t know what I’m talking about? Tell everyone your opinion below.