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Man arrested for fraud after falsely claiming billionaire Jack Ma would give speech at his business forum

A man has been arrested in western China for alleged fraud after he falsely claimed that the billionaire Jack Ma would give a speech at a business conference he organised, according to a newspaper report.

The 29-year-old, whose full name was not given, earned 200,000 yuan (HK$233,000) from the event, the West China City Daily said.

He advertised online claiming he had invited Jack Ma to speak at his forum on August 28 in Chengdu in Sichuan province and offered tickets to make “close contact with Ma”, the report said.

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The price of tickets for the “Future Economic Trends Summit” ranged from 480 yuan to 10,000 yuan each. The event attracted about 600 people, according to the article.

The man also allegedly forged a document with an Alibaba company chop as proof of Ma’s attendance, the report said.

After the event started with a full house, the master of ceremonies kept telling the audience that Ma would turn up as “a surprise”.

After two hours waiting in vain, the audience asked for a refund and called the police.

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Three days before the event the e-commerce company Alibaba posted on its official social media account that Ma would not be attending, the report said.

“[Ma] was never invited … has never planned to attend. It’s all not true … please do not be deceived,” the post was quoted as saying.

The Alibaba Group is the owner of the South China Morning Post.