The Real Deal New York

Chinese developer arrested on bank robbery charges

The now successful real estate tycoon allegedly committed the crime 16 years ago

October 31, 2015 03:00PM

A bank robbery and Zhumadian China

A bank robbery and Zhumadian China

It seems that a Chinese real estate tycoon was in need of some supplementary capital. Apparently his solution? Rob a bank.

Shi Erqun is a successful property developer in Zhumadian city in central China’s Henan province. But he was arrested last week for allegedly robbing a bank 16 years ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Known locally as “Big Crocodile,” Shi was able to dodge arrest for more than a decade, but he wasn’t exactly on the lam. In fact, Shi has remained a prominent public figure, owning a trading company and a hotel management business. His assets are estimated to be worth a few billion yuan.

In an interview, Shi admitted to masterminding the robbery on December 5, 1999, with the help of four others. Together, they allegedly stole 2.08 million yuan ($327,000) in cash from a cooperative bank in Zhengzhou.

“I saw a woman crouching down and trying to make a phone call. I fired two shots behind her back to scare her,” Shi said in the interview with local media. “I couldn’t forget this. Every day I think about what I’ve done and if someone near me makes a little move I would get nervous. Especially in the first 10 years, only in the recent years I’ve relaxed a bit.” [WSJ] Christopher Cameron