Chinese woman exposed in 50 million baht grey market scam

Photo courtey of Sanook

A young Chinese woman who rose to social media fame with her tale of rural hardship, amassing over 3.86 million followers, has been revealed to be part of a deceptive grey business that profited over 50 million baht.

The young woman, 20 year old Liang San Mingyang captivated millions with her stories of poverty and struggle. However, suspicions arose as discrepancies in her life story led to an investigation exposing a lucrative grey business that exploited sympathy for profit.

Initially, the Chinese woman’s path to social media stardom began around 2018 when she shared her suffering online, gaining netizens’ sympathy. Over 500 video clips portrayed her in a dilapidated brick house, wearing tattered clothes, and labouring in rice fields or collecting firewood in the mountains.

Liang claimed that she had lost both parents and left school to care for her younger brother, surviving on potatoes. Financial constraints pushed her to seek income through short social media clips, often crying and lamenting her life during livestreams, moving viewers.

The young woman’s isolated mountain life image quickly gained popularity, attracting a significant following, and she began selling products during livestreams, amassing over 3.86 million followers in a few years. However, doubts were cast on the authenticity of her clips, with indications of a production team and glimpses of her in high-end locations wearing luxury brands, which she denied, claiming there was no team and no money.

Nevertheless, some netizens visited her hometown and found her parents alive, and the brick house from the clips staged. In May last year, public security officials investigated social media celebrities for false advertising, and Liang’s case became a shocking revelation to many.

Shocking revelation

The entire operation was uncovered as a grey business where a group established a company to create staged clips depicting poverty and sadness, with Liang as their main character. They pretended to help farmers by purchasing agricultural products at low prices, only to resell them at inflated prices during livestreams, making sales over 30 million yuan (around 152 million baht) and illegal profits exceeding 10 million yuan, reported Sanook.

The People’s Court announced the verdict on Monday, March 18. Liang, her brother, the company owner, and eight others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from nine months to one year and two months for false advertising. Liang received an 11-month sentence and a fine of 80,000 yuan, while her brother was sentenced to nine months and fined 40,000 yuan.

China NewsCrime NewsThailand News

Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

Related Articles