Club boss disappears with 1m yuan

December 21, 2006 1:58am CST
THE boss of a fitness club disappeared with more than 1 million yuan (US$121,951) in annual fees paid by club members. Police are investigating the Dongjian City Club in Futian District, the Daily Sunshine reported Monday. The club, located in the Haoyuanju housing estate, was closed by the estate management office, which said the club owed it more than 200,000 yuan. However, the club’s advertising poster was still at the sales center of the housing estate offering National Day sales — annual membership for 1,666 yuan. Club members, 80 percent of whom are residents of the estate, gathered in front of the club to discuss what measures could be taken against the club Sunday. Club members have elected a 10-member committee to seek compensation. A committee member surnamed Ying said the club had about 700 members who had paid a total of about 1 million yuan. Each member paid from 1,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan, and some had just paid membership fees, said Ying. A worker with the club, identified as Fu, said his boss, around 40, surnamed Ma, went to the club almost every day before Dec. 13 but disappeared after that. Ma had started delaying salaries in recent months and most of the 25 workers at the club were owed back wages, said Fu. Ma must have been well prepared to disappear, he said. The director of the housing estate’s management office said the club presented proper certificates when it applied to operate in the estate. However, it stopped paying management fees in September, said the director surnamed Jiang.
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