A retired prosecutor from Henan Province, China, was executed on Aug. 7 for killing or injuring a dozen students at a local school two years ago. His story exemplifies how fraudulent financial schemes can push ordinary citizens to extremes.
Ma Gaochao, a retired prosecutor in Nanyang City, drove a car into Nanyang No. 1 High School as students were leaving the school in February 2016. He allegedly sped up to hit the students as they were crossing the road, killing one student and injuring another 11.
After Ma retired as head of the Nanyang City Procuratorate, he began working as a salesman for an investment company under Daxin Real Estate in Nanyang. But when the company got into financial trouble and the boss fled, Ma was cornered by investors who were seeking the return of their money.
Ma told the Nanyang Intermediate Court on April 25, 2017, what had transpired. He said his company had made an offer: invest in the firm, and he would get 2 percent interest after one month. So, Ma lent 3 million yuan ($440,000) from his own pocket and convinced a friend to lend 9 million yuan ($1.3 million) to the Daxin company.
Because the company was running a pyramid scheme, Ma, as with many other investors, didn’t get any returns and also lost his investment. He said his resentment toward the company and the boss angered him enough to want to retaliate against society and commit an egregious crime.
Ma said he chose the school as his target was because Nanyang No. 1 High School was the best high school in the city, and the incident would cause a great deal of attention.
In May 2016, business magazine Caixin commented that Ma’s deed was the result of the sudden collapse of the Nanyang property market, as well as the prolific presence of illegal pyramid schemes.
Ma was sentenced to death in July 2017 by the Nanyang Intermediate People’s Court, and was unsuccessful in an appeal to the Henan Provincial Higher People’s Court, before his execution by the Nanyang Intermediate People’s Court.