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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 15:46 GMT
Death penalty over China ant scam
Map of China showing Liaoning province
A Chinese company chairman has been sentenced to death for running a scam involving giant ants.

Wang Zhendong promised investors returns of up to 60% if they put money into the fictitious ant-breeding project, the court heard.

Wang, from Liaoning province, raised 3bn yuan ($390m; 200m) in three years, prosecutors said.

The ants are used in traditional medicines and remedies in parts of China.

Fifteen other staff members were fined and given jail terms of between five and 10 years.

More than 10,000 investors signed 100,000 contracts with the company before the case was investigated in June 2005, Xinhua news agency reported.

Only 10m yuan was recovered before the case was brought to court, it said.

One investor committed suicide after realising he had been duped, according to the court.

Wang's actions also caused huge economic losses for investors and many subsequently suffered from depression, it added.

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