by Sebanaku Sarawak
SIBU: A con man is indeed in a difficult profession that required a lot of courage and skills.
To the certain extent, a con man is just like an actor who manages to conceal his true feeling when dealing with his victim(s).
A skillfull conman is able to give an extremely convincing presentation resulting in his preys would be willing to do his bidding - be it monetary or non-monetary.
There are many stories on the internet on conmen which could easily google.
One of the websites that has information about the history of conmen is Listverse.com which listed down ten names which it regarded as the most famous con men in recent history.
The names are:-
1. Frank Abagnale [Born: 1948]
2. Charles Ponzi [Born: 1882; Died: 1949]
3. Joseph Weil [Born: 1877; Died: 1975]
4. Victor Lustig [Born: 1890; Died: 1947]
5. George Parker [Born: 1870; Died: 1936]
6. Soapy Smith [Born: 1860; Died: 1898]
7. Eduardo de Valfierno
8. James Hogue [Born: 1959]
9. Robert Hendy-Freegard [Born: 1971]
10. Bernard Cornfeld [Born: 1927; Died: 1995]
May be we could have our own list of con men for our own archives.
At least this could help us to be aware of their modus operandi in tricking their victims.
At the same time, it could help us to have a sense of pride for having our own people who are being 'officially' recognised by the local historians as one of the famous conmen.
Sarawak Boleh !!!
If such list is to exist, there is a very high possibility that a Sibu Malay would make a cut into the list.
May be his name would be among the top three but if would not be suprised if he is to be on the top of the list.
In 1987, after the Ming Court episode, he was given half dozens of timber concessions from the government. All of these timber concessions were earlier belonged to the former Chief Minister Tun Rahman and his cronies but were later frozen by the state government after he had a fall out with his successor Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
All the timber concessions worth between RM80 million to RM90 million at that time.
He was given a specific instruction to share the concessions with the Sibu Malays.
However, after 23 years he was told to share the timber concessions to help the Sibu Malays, not even one Sibu Malay (who is not related to him or his wife via marriage) is ever being benefitted from the timber concessions.
The man, nevertheless, didn't stop there. He started to feel greedy after seeing big monies flowing towards him.
So, now he started to be pro-active in his con-man work.
He lobbied for a large oil palm plantation area from the state government but he failed to get the state government to agree to his request because he had no experience or expertise in the oil palm plantation bisness.
Then, in 1993, he changed his tactics by telling the state government that he was actually trying to help the Sibu Malays when he requested for the land.
He managed to make the state government to believe that he would share the business pie with the Sibu Malays who are the minority in the China town.
The state government thought that the conman would contract out some of the works in the plantation to the Sibu Malay contractors as well as giving share to some of the Sibu Malays.
However, the man is realy true to his profession as a conman.
He didn't do what he had promised to do. And luckily for him that he didn't go around the Sibu town to get the blessing from the Malays that he would be requesting a piece of land from the state government by using their names.
Or he could expect the Malays to run amok in the Sibu town when they got to know that the conman didn't honour his promise to them.
And later, he sold the company (Austral) which was given the land for the purpose of oil palm plantation for a sum of more than RM100 millions few years later.
And again, he didn't share the money with the Sibu Malays despite of the fact that when he applied for the land, he had told the state government that he would use it to assist the Sibu Malays.
(... to be continued ... )