Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Teen who conned ex-president loses suit against ‘Apple’

LEADER DECEIVER Huang reportedly posed as a radio station director, a hotel executive, a Briton with two master’s degrees as well as a fortune-teller

AFP , TAIPEI

A 17-year-old boy who duped former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) by posing as a fortune-teller lost a libel suit against a newspaper for branding him a liar, prosecutors in Shilin said yesterday.

The teenager, identified only by his family name, Huang, was arrested last year on fraud allegations after boasting on television about his scam targeting Chen, but was later released by a juvenile court.

In May, the teenager filed libel charges against the Chinese-language Apple Daily for calling him “the teenager who conned Chen” and “[the teenager who] conned numerous people” in one of its columns.

‘PUBLIC INTEREST’

“The case concerned public interests, and prosecutors have ruled that the report was not written with the intention to defame,” a spokesman for Shilin District Court said.

Huang’s case caused a media sensation and brought comparisons with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can amid reports that he assumed nine different identities in a series of cons.

LARGE REPERTOIRE

Huang reportedly posed as a radio station director, a hotel executive, a British passport holder with two master’s degrees and a fortune-teller.

The teenager has apologized and admitted lying about his age and fabricating his academic and work experience “out of vanity.”

Chen has accused Huang of trying to swindle money out of him after arranging a Buddhist ritual for him, but the former president denied reports that said he had received a Tarot card reading from the boy.

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