Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Zimbabwean con man stole hearts, cash

LOVE THIEF Frank George Henry Cundall is doing time for defrauding 11 lovesick women over the course of a dozen years. Now his wife is up on charges too

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taipei prosecutors have indicted a Zimbabwean man's Taiwanese wife after the man was sentenced to four years and 10 months in jail because prosecutors believed that the woman had been an accomplice to her husband's crimes -- winning women's hearts and then busting their bank books.

According to a verdict handed down by Taipei Judge Chu Juei-chuan (朱瑞娟), Frank George Henry Cundall, a 40-year-old Caucasian who possesses both Zimbabwean and British passports, came to Taiwan in 1991 and began to make a living by cheating Taiwanese women out of their money. In at least 11 instances, according to the judge's verdict, Cundall wooed women while telling them the same pack of lies: that he was a scuba-diving instructor, a musician and an English tutor, and that he wanted to marry them.

There was always a hitch before the hitch, though -- Cundall needed some cash straight away.

According to police records, in excess of 20 women have reported that Cundall cheated them. The court recognized 11 of them as victims. Cundall is alleged to have "earned" NT$5 million through his long-running scam.

"The outcome was always the same -- once he got the money, a brokenhearted girl was left behind," said Tony Tsao (曹晴輝), director of the Taipei City Police Department's Foreign Affairs Division.

"Many Taiwanese girls just love to be with foreigners for no reason. I am not saying that it's wrong, but most of them are just temporarily blind. It's not smart."

Cundall was arrested on June 26 last year on charges of fraud -- and illegal possession of lethal weapons such as combat knives and bows and arrows.

On March 5, Chu and fellow judges Wu Chia-wei (吳佳薇) and Chen Hui-ping (陳慧萍) sentenced Cundall to four years and 10 months in jail.

Cundall will be deported after he does his time.

He is being detained for the moment at the Taipei Detention House (台北看守所) because his wife, Wang Pei-chin (王培錦), was recently indicted for having been involved in the crimes he committed and, according to the law, Cundall will not begin his sentence until Wang's verdict is handed down.

Cundall and Wang got married on March 2, 1993. They have one son.

Wang's May 13 indictment alleges that she knowingly received from Cundall money he had earned by cheating other women. Wang initially denied the allegations but later told prosecutors that she had been an accomplice to Cundall's crimes because he had threatened her with violence.

Taipei prosecutors believe that Wang was involved in at least four cases of fraud. The prosecutors regard her as a "co-suspect" and have suggested that she receive a sentence of two years and six months.

According to the 48-page verdict against Cundall, he used his fluent English, Mandarin and Hoklo (more commonly known as Taiwanese) to meet women in public places such as museums, MRT stations, nightclubs and the National Concert Hall. Cundall would first make "friends" with these women -- and eventually tell them that he was serious about being in a relationship with them and wanted to marry them.

When the victims were sufficiently lovestruck, he would ask them to give him a computer, extend him a loan or make the down payment on a car. Then, when he'd gotten hold of what he wanted, suddenly Cundall was gone.

Cundall used fake Chinese names as he went about the business of conning women.

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