The sad story of Zhao Liqun (Chinese lottery scam)

Article published on Monday 20 April 2015


The sad and unfortunate story of Zhao Liqun involves a seemingly unfair punishment on a man simply taking advantage of an exploit loophole left open by the lottery.

Sentenced to life in prison for the exploitation of this loophole, Zhao Liqun’s sentence is still considered severely unreasonable in comparison to the sentences issued to criminal gangs that organise and act out precisely planned lottery rigging methods.

Zhao, aged 36, ran three lottery stalls in the Chinese province of Anhan. Like every other lottery player yet armed with a trick, he discovered that after the winning lottery numbers had been drawn, there was still a five minute window for a player to choose their numbers and obtain a playable, qualified lottery ticket. This would allow a player to select the winning numbers after they had been drawn, to then cash out the ticket for the winning jackpot.

Rather than being subtle about this loophole trick, Zhao took advantage of this three times obtaining a total of $3.76 million (or 28 million yuan).

china-3d-lotteryAccording to the Intermediate People’s Court in Anshan, the Welfare Lottery “3D” system was the victim in this ordeal in 2005. Despite having this five minute loophole present, the Welfare Lottery had no knowledge of the potential for exploitation until Zhao Liqun had highlighted it with his fraudulent actions.

Buying the winning numbers after they had been drawn several times over, Zhao had asked both his friends and his neighbours to cash the numerous tickets at the Welfare Lottery Centre to then bring back the money. In doing this, maybe he assumed that his involvement would go unnoticed and that the winnings would be his to have and share to his heart’s content.

Instead of having the tickets simply taken in and cashed out, the Welfare Lottery Centre discovered that the cash prizes had been illegally claimed and so they issued the arrest warrant for Zhao Liqun in January. Not only did the police jail Zhao for life, they also confiscated all of his property.

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