Wang Zhendong has been sentenced to death. His crime: selling ants.
Mr Wang apparently went around the country selling bags of ants for over RMB10,000 a pop. He claimed they could be used in medical elixirs that would sell at over 60% profit. More than 10,000 people were taken in by the scam; at least one of them committed suicide when he realized he’d just spent his family’s life savings on a bag of ants.
To be sure, Wang ripped these people off. But the death sentence? A bit over the top, I think. True, he swindled a whopping three BILLION RMB out of people. But Ken Lay and his cohorts at Enron did a lot worse scamming people on their energy bills, and the consumers were none the wiser. Wang actually had to convince people to hand over huge sums of money for little packs of insects. Surely there is a position for this man selling Chinese government bonds.
In all seriousness, Wang deserves punishment, including a long jail term. But killing him won’t solve anything.