PETALING JAYA - Self-proclaimed "future richest man in the world" Zhang Jian was arrested in Indonesia and escorted back to China where he will face legal action.
Zhang, whose real name is Song Miqiu, is believed to be the mastermind behind several get-rich-quick schemes in China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
The website of Wu Xin Bi - Zhang's latest "coin" venture - is now inaccessible and over 5,000 Malaysians with RM17.5mil invested are now left in the lurch, reported Oriental Daily.
Sin Chew Daily reported that according to mainland Chinese media, Chinese police tracked Zhang down with help from their Indonesian counterparts and the Chinese Embassy in the country.
He was brought back to China yesterday.
Chinese police investigations revealed that Zhang had set up a trading company called Yun Shu Mao with other partners in November 2012 as a front for illegal multi-level marketing schemes, involving up to 600mil yuan (S$121.8 million).
Police in China's Hunan province began investigating Zhang and his partners in December 2013, reported Sin Chew.
Zhang immediately fled the country but continued his illegal activities in South-East Asia.
He made headlines in the Malaysian media in 2014 when billboards of him appeared in Penang, proclaiming him to be the "future richest man in the world".
He also awarded his lucky "distributors" with luxury cars.
The country's Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry then launched an investigation into Zhang's company but he fled to Thailand.
On Oct 27, 2014, Thai police arrested Zhang, his wife Yoyo Wang Wen Fang, 29, and his right-hand man Geng Lian Bao over a pyramid scheme and seized assets worth 240mil baht.
After Zhang's release in 2016, some supporters claimed that he remained in Thailand but his actual whereabouts then were a mystery.
Chinese police sent their officials to track him down several times and even issued an Interpol red alert on Zhang in March 2016.
They also sought co-operation from police in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to investigate Zhang's activities.
Recently, Zhang was seen making a comeback in Malaysia to promote Wu Xin Bi, a coin which he claimed had investment value on the Internet.