SHIJIAZHUANG, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Five suspects related to a major bank
theft case in northern China's Hebei Province went on trial in a local court on
Five suspects, including Ren Xiaofeng, 34 and Ma Xiangjing, 37, two major
suspects and former vault managers of the Handan branch of the Agricultural Bank
of China (ABC), have been tried in the Handan Intermediate People's Court, said
Han Yuanheng, publicity director of the Hebei provincial higher court.
The court heard that in October last year, Ren contrived with Zhao Xuenan
and Zhang Qiang, both employed to watch the vault, and managed to embezzle
200,000 yuan (26,300 U.S. dollars) from the vault.
The money was bet on the lottery, but Ren later replaced the missing fund
after he won a lottery prize, the court was told.
From March 16 to April 14 this year, Ren collaborated with Ma, who replaced
Zhang Qiang as a bank employee, and managed to embezzle another 50.95 million
yuan (about 6.7 million dollars) of bank notes from the vault. On April 14
alone, the two heisted 18 million yuan of notes.
The Handan People's Procuratorate charged Ren and Ma with embezzlement and
charged Zhao and Zhang with misappropriation of public funds.
The procuratorate also prosecuted Song Changhai for harboring Ma when he
was on the run.
The theft, dubbed the country's largest on record, was reported to police
on April 16 by the Handan branch of the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), after
the bank found millions of yuan had gone missing.
The Public Security Ministry placed Ren and Ma, two major suspects, on its
most wanted list.
Police arrested Ma in Beijing on April 18, and Ren in a rented house in
Liangyungang, a coastal city in the eastern Jiangsu Province a day later. Police
said they retrieved about 5.50 million yuan and found that about 45.35 million
yuan had been squandered on the lottery.
Five bank officials, including Deng Zhenguo, vice president of ABC's Hebei
Province branch, and four officials in ABC's branch in Handan city, have been
The court did not immediately announce the verdict.