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Last Updated: Monday, 14 July, 2003, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
China's 'orchid king' gets 18 years
Yang Bin
Mr Yang was once China's second-richest man
A business tycoon once listed as the second richest man in China has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud.

Yang Bin, known as China's flower king, was found guilty of a string of economic crimes including bribery and illegal land use.

He is one of a number of high-profile businessmen to have fallen foul of the law in China in recent months.

Before his fall from grace, Yang Bin was one of China's most flamboyant businessmen, and was named by North Korea to head a free-market experimental zone across from the Chinese border.

A Dutch citizen, he built a business empire growing tulips amid the industrial decay of north-east China.

By 2001 he was listed as China's second richest man, with a fortune close to $1bn.

But with fame came suspicion and soon a government investigation.

Much of Yang's wealth had, it turned out, been based not on flowers but on illegal property development.

False receipts were used to get his company listed on the stock market. As his empire began to crumble around him, Yang made what may have been a last bid to avoid prosecution.

He accepted an offer from the North Korean government to run a new free trade zone inside the Stalinist state.

But last October, as he prepared to cross the border, Chinese police moved in and took him away.

A spokesman for Yang, chairman of Hong Kong-listed Euro-Asia Agricultural (Holdings), said he planned to appeal.

Orchid tycoon goes on trial
11 Jun 03  |  Business
China charges tycoon with fraud
27 Nov 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Economy's ills shape N Korean crisis
22 Apr 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China's ill-gotten gains
14 Nov 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Setback for North Korea trade zone
01 Oct 02  |  Business

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