Buying a house is generally seen as one of most costly purchases one can make. It’s especially true in China, where house prices continue to rise.
Given what a the challenge it can be to get on the property ladder in the country, it’s probably no surprise that Chinese social media was buzzing with one particular property story last week.
It started when a blog was published on the popular blogging platform the Tian Ya Yi Du forum, by a person writing under the pseudonym ‘Proud Qiaoba’.
Proud Qiaoba penned a tale that, if we hadn’t been able to verify it ourselves, would seem like the plot of a pretty average airport romance novel.
The lead character in Proud Qiaoba’s account is a colleague, whom Chinese media have dubbed ‘Xiaoli’ (not her real name).
Xiaoli, a woman from the city of Shenzhen in southern China, asked each of her 20 current boyfriends to buy her a newly launched iPhone 7. She then sold all of the phones to a mobile phone recycling site called Hui Shou Bao for 120,000 Chinese yuan (about £14,500), and used the money to put down a deposit on a house in the countryside.
Proud Qiaoba wrote in the blog post that when Xiaoli showed her new house to their group of friends, they were all very surprised when she revealed how she had managed to obtain the money for the deposit.
“Everyone in the office is talking about this now,” wrote Proud Qiaoba, “Who knows what her boyfriends think now this news has become public.”
Proud Qiaoba added that Xiaoli “is not from a wealthy family. Her mum is a housewife and her dad is a migrant worker, and she is the oldest daughter. Her parents are getting old and she might be under a lot pressure hoping to buy them a house… But it’s still unbelievable that she could use this method!”
Many people on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo have been expressing their surprise at Xiaoli’s enterprise and quick work in convincing her 20 lovers to each buy her the latest in Apple’s mobile coterie – particularly since the iPhone 7 was only recently launched, on 16 September of this year,
A hashtag which translates as ’20 mobiles for a house’ quickly began to circulate on Weibo, and became the country’s top trend. It has now been used in excess of 13 million times.
Many social media users, like ‘small sand is growing’, have expressed admiration for Xiaoli.
“I can’t even find one boyfriend. She can actually find 20 boyfriends at the same time and even get them to buy her an iPhone 7. Just want to ask her to teach me such skills.”
Another, ‘TST’ praised her enterprising nature, saying that she has “a bright future.”
But others haven’t been so complimentary.
‘Little Bee’ wrote that Xiaoli was “the most shameless person”.
Others were suspicious and wondered if the whole story was an elaborate product placement for Hui Shou Bao, the mobile phone recycling business.
BBC Trending approached Hui Shou Bao and a company spokesperson confirmed that they had indeed purchased 20 iPhones from a female client at the beginning of October and paid 6,000 Chinese yuan (about £725) for each one.
We put in a request to interview Xiaoli through the company. They responded to our email saying that they had asked their client if she would like to speak to us, but she had declined.
“Her day-to-day life has been affected (from the local media attention) and she doesn’t want the media to continue covering this story,” they said, “so she has turned down your interview request.”
See Photos: Kennedy Agyapong caught “pants down”
Documents available to prove the exact opposite of claims made by New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central Kennedy Agyapong on Oman Fm’s Boiling Point last Thursday, that Stelin Automotive and Trading Company in 2012 paid only GH¢ 10,000 to clear six (6) Toyota Hilux pick-up vehicles belonging to Mr Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers & Planners.
“That Stelin Company, we will go after them… Ibrahim imported Hilux. When I talk they say it’s because he is richer than me that’s why I talk about him… Someone whose brother is President, and wants to be President again… this thing he did in 2012 I will talk”, Mr Kennedy Agyapong declared on Oman FM.
“Ibrahim brought in those six Hilux pickups. Do you know the duty Engineers and Planners paid? They paid 10,000 cedis.. I swear to God… I am not against Ibrahim, I am against Steling Company.. I want the customs officer to be interrogated”, he added.
But contrary to the claims made by the lawmaker, documents with receipts sighted showed Stelin Automotive and Trading Company paid GH¢10,424.16 for each of the Toyota Hilux Pick up and not GH¢ 10,000 for all the six (6).
It has been established that the vehicles with chassis numbers MROFR22G3C0679730, MROFR22G679726, MROFR22G679638, MROFR22G679533, MROFR22G679810 and MROFR22G67921 were all cleared at a total cost of GH¢62, 544.96 through Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) Ecobank account.
It is unclear where the maverick lawmaker got his information from but checks at CEPS in Tema further revealed that the amount was paid in full before the vehicles were released to the clearing agent, Stelin Automotive, and Trading Company.
A CEPS official who spoke to MYNEWSGH.com on condition of strict anonymity said: “Checks on whether the appropriate duties of vehicles has been paid can be done through the use of Customs SMS code by texting the chassis numbers to the shortcode 1477”.
He revealed that any car whose duty has not been paid will be exposed by the system’s shortcode of 1477.
Though the lawmaker claimed during the political programme his allegations were against Stelin Automotive and Trading Company and not E&P or Ibrahim Mahama, an aide to the businessman in response said the NPP firebrand seems to be obsessed about Mr. Ibrahim Mahama.
“The attacks on Stelin Automotive and Trading Company appeared to be an indirect way of attacking Mr. Ibrahim Mahama because the cars were cleared on behalf of Engineers &Planners Limited”, he stated.
This is not the first time Mr Kennedy Agyapong is making allegations against Mr Ibrahim Mahama which eventually turned out to be false.
Last week, the outspoken lawmaker alleged ‘some impropriety’ in the part of Mr Ibrahim Mahama over the servicing of his cars at the Air Cargo section of the Kotoka International Airport.
Officials of NACOB who supervised the disembarking of the luxury vehicles disputed Mr Kennedy Agyapong’s version of events.
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