‘I lost everything’: down-on-his-luck man in China conned out of US$278,000 by ‘magnetic master’ who ordered bizarre food rituals to boost fortunes


A desperate man in China who was trying to turn around his fortunes has been conned out of more than two million yuan (US$278,000) and persuaded to engage in a series of absurd rituals – such as consuming vast amounts of food over a short period of time.

In 2021, the man, surnamed Wang, enjoyed a stable life as a loving father and the owner of two shops in Shanghai. Then a friend, surnamed Zhu, introduced him to a so-called “master”.

The friend told Wang how he miraculously survived a recent car accident thanks to blessings he received from Buddha amulets he owned. Zhu said Wang should meet the master to help him fix some of his health problems.

Wang added the master on WeChat and was immediately captivated by his psychic abilities.

For example, Wang said the master deduced extensive private information about him only based on his birth date and the eight characters of his horoscope.

Buddhist amulets were at the heart of the con which saw the man lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, his home and his family. Photo: Weibo

Under the master’s guidance, Wang initially paid 400,000 yuan (US$55,000) for Buddha amulets and later participated in a series of rituals to turn around his fortunes.

In one such ritual Wang spent an evening trying to eat 1.5 kg of spicy duck necks within the space of an hour and attempted to finish five packs of sunflower seeds and five packs of extremely spicy noodles.

The master claimed that failing to complete these tasks would sabotage Wang’s good luck.

When Wang could not complete the ritual, he grew desperate and repeatedly turned to the master for advice, who suggested that Wang should conduct a series of ceremonies in Thailand to dispel his bad luck.

These ceremonies included lighting lamps and chanting prayers, each of which came with associated fees that Wang paid without hesitation.

The master also advised Wang to spend more time with his friend Zhu, noting that Zhu’s “magnetic field” could help eliminate Wang’s lousy luck.

As a result, Wang and Zhu moved in together, and Wang even paid a fee for “utilising Zhu’s magnetic field”.

By the end of 2022, Wang had sold his house and shops and had accumulated significant debt. His health did not improve and he found himself in a dire financial predicament with nothing left to be conned out of.

It was at this point that Wang finally realised he had been scammed and called the police.

An investigation discovered that the “master” was actually Zhu.

Zhu had bought inexpensive Buddha amulets online and sold them to Wang at exorbitant prices. He had also devised the “impossible ritual tasks” as a means to extract more money from his friend.

During the entire ordeal, Zhu conned Wang out of more than two million yuan.

“I don’t know how I let myself fall victim to such a scam, and I lost everything, including my family,” Wang told police.

Zhu was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for fraud and fined 200,000 yuan.

The victim was persuaded to engage in a series of bizarre rituals, all of which had fees attached. Photo: Shutterstock

The story, reported by the People’s Court of Songjiang district in Shanghai, has been met with astonishment on mainland social media.

One person said: “Scammers are getting more creative and keeping ahead of the times!”

“Is this ‘master’ also an owner of a spicy duck neck shop?” said another, with a third adding: “I’m so broke because I can’t finish 1.5 kg of duck necks within an hour!”


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