A fake police academy in China has been exposed in a bizarre sting operation that involved undercover authentic female officers disguised as schoolgirls.
The Jiamusi People’s Police Academy, Shandong province branch, offered impressionable school leavers a three year law enforcement studies course taught by veteran officers on a new campus.
The rookie officers prepared to stump up the £2,000 fees were promised their hard won diplomas would land them jobs keeping the streets safe from criminals – including, one imagines, apprehending the innovative counterfeiters who have produced a long list of fraudulent products, including fake walnuts, vintage wine and the ubiquitous plastic Rolex.
The sham police school was closed after its “honorary president”, Wei Zhenhai, inadvertently exposed the scheme.
He boasted about his friends in high places to two female undercover officers who visited the admission office posing as potential students.
Mr Wei claimed his unique constabulary connections would help them secure posts. Genuine constables then pounced and arrested the academy’s 23 staff, including the president, Zhao Qingxin.
In his charge sheet, it was noted Mr Zhao had previous form, first as a failed instant-noodle entrepreneur who once spent three years in prison for blackmail, and secondly as a bona fide admissions director at a real school.
After resigning from his education position, he ploughed his £20,000 life savings into setting up his own mock academic business.
He leased a building complex, and forged a commissioning letter from the real Jiamusi People’s Police Academy – located hundreds of miles away in northern Heilongjiang province – which claimed to give permission to open his feeder school in the eastern city of Weifang.
Mr Zhao’s website was the near plagiarised image of those advertising real police schools and he embarked on an internet shopping spree, buying uniforms and equipment for his squad of veteran police trainers, who it transpired, were retired military personnel.
The authentic Weifang City PD was tipped off after a parent of one student who had enrolled for academy’s first intake in September became suspicious.