Thu, Aug 01, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Con artist receives more lenient term in hotel fraud case

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

The Taiwan High Court yesterday meted out a lighter punishment for Huang Chao-kang (黃照岡), also known as Huang Chih (黃琪) and Charlier Huang, for credit card fraud involving two luxury hotels in Taipei.

In a decision widely seen as too lenient, the High Court reduced his punishment to 20 months in prison, which can be commuted to a fine, meaning he does not have to serve time.

The Taipei District Court last year found Huang guilty of seven counts of fraud against Regent Taipei and Sheraton Grand Taipei hotels, and sentenced him to a mandatory 22-month term, plus 12 months, which could be commuted to a fine of NT$360,000 (US$11,577).

Huang, 27, was found guilty of defrauding the two hotels by posing as Fendi Tsai (蔡佳玲), daughter of billionaire Tsai Chen-yu (蔡鎮宇) of the Cathay Financial Group.

An investigation found that in July and August of 2016, Huang called and paid for rooms at Regent Taipei and Sheraton Grand Taipei by pretending to be Fendi Tsai .

Hotel employees testified that Huang was given special rates and discounts usually accorded to VIP clients, as they thought it was Fendi Tsai who was making the purchase.

However, they later caught on to the scam and reported him to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, which arrested Huang.

During the first trial, Huang claimed that he could not be charged with fraud as his stays at the hotels did not cause them financial losses.

He also asked for leniency, saying he had booked the rooms because he wanted to please his boyfriend, surnamed Chou (周), so they could spend some time together.

In the second hearing at the High Court, Huang’s lawyer said that his client and the two hotels had reached a settlement.

As the hotels’ management had agreed to forgive Huang, the High Court judges ruled in favor of a reduced sentence.

Huang is said to be the nation’s most famous con artist and had served jail time for fraud.

He first gained notoriety when he was in his teens by pretending to a master Tarot card reader and allegedly deceived then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) with a private consultation session in September 2008.

In Huang’s other famous cases, most of them involving credit card fraud, he had posed as Taiwanese film legend Brigitte Lin (林青霞), an executive for Voice of Taipei radio station and as Wei Hong-fan (魏宏帆), a second-generation member of the Wei family who controls Ting Hsin International Group.

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