Who is Zhang Jian? 8 things to know about the self-proclaimed "future richest man in the world"

Who is Zhang Jian? 8 things to know about the self-proclaimed "future richest man in the world"
Zhang Jian
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

A man who goes by the name of Zhang Jian has been grabbing regional headlines over the past week.

More famously known as the self-proclaimed "future richest man in the world", Zhang was arrested on Tuesday (June 6) by Indonesian police.

He has since been escorted back to China where he will face legal action.

The infamous head of an international multi-level marketing scheme is suspected to be behind several pyramid schemes that involve at least 600 million yuan (S$121 million), according to media reports.

As news about Zhang and his misdeeds come to light, more details have been revealed about his huge following - and what these followers did for him.

Here's what you should know about the scheme magnate:

1. Zhang Jian isn't even his real name

His real name is Song Miqiu.

The 40-year-old is believed to be the mastermind behind several get-rich-quick schemes in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

2. There were giant billboards of him in Penang

Photo: The Star

In July 2014, Zhang made headlines in the Malaysian media when billboards of him appeared in Penang, promoting his get-rich-quick scheme.

He also awarded his lucky "distributors" with luxury cars.

3. Ran a get-rich-quick scam through his business empire Yun Shu Mao aka YSLM

Through this scam, he duped at least 190,000 people from 28 provinces in China, according to Chinese authorities.

33 people involved in the scheme were subsequently detained. It was also found that the Yun Shu Mao website operator had corerced fees from followers who were promised huge rewards in return.

4. This is not his first run-in with the law

Photo: The Star

Zhang and his wife, Yoyo Wang Wen Fang, as well as his accomplice Geng Lian Bao were arrested by Thai police at a condominium in October 2014 over a pyramid scheme.

The pyramid scheme reportedly duped people in China and Malaysia out of 6 billion baht (S$243 million) and 3 billion baht respectively.

Thai police had also seized assets worth over 240 million baht.

His actual whereabots remained a mystery after his release in 2016. But by March that year, Chinese police had issued an Interpol red alert on him.

5. Held a 100-day temporary ordination programme at a temple

The controversial figure reportedly recruited devotees to join YSLM at a temple in Phuket back in August 2014.

The temple was reportedly "packed with his followers daily".

Zhang was said to have donated almost RM400,000 (S$130,000) to the temple after his company's revenue made over RM50 billion.

6. Tried to make a 2017 comeback in Malaysia to promote his own currency

In April this year, China Press reported that Zhang had set up another multi-level marketing company.

He was said to be promoting a coin called Wu Xin Bi, which he claimed had investment value.

This latest "coin" venture is reportedly inaccessible now, leaving over 5,000 Malaysians in the lurch, reported Oriental Daily.

They allegedly invested RM17.5 million in the business.

7. Hired women to promote his 'coin business' - but they had to shave their hair

Photo: The Star

Zhang was said to have hired a group of women to be his assistants in promoting his latest scam.

However, the women were required to shave their heads bald.

China Press reported that a man who claimed to be Zhang's "assistant" had posted on social media early this year stating that assistants could earn between 3,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan a month.

According to one of Zhang's "assistants", they needed to only promote the investment to their friends through social media.

8. Organised charity dinner for 1,000 'blonde-haired' people

Photo: The Star

Before his latest arrest, Zhang had continued his illegal activities in Southeast Asia by holding a charity dinner that was attended by close to 1,000 people.

Only those who sported the "right look" were allowed to attend the dinner held in Penang's Chai Leng Park on Sunday (June 5), The Star reported.

Each diner had to pay RM200 for the dinner. On top of that, they had to dye their hair yellow or gold before they could enter.

That wasn't the only strange sighting at the event.

Some women came with their heads shaved, while others sported tattoos of Zhang to pledge their support.

Several male members were also spotted in dresses.

Zhang wasn't seen at the dinner and company members claimed that he was in the Maldives.

In April, he had allegedly also organised similar charity dinners in Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur as well as in Sabah, The Star added.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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