Dinosaur models surround the planned construction site of the Dream Jurassic Park project in Daqing, Heilongjiang. (Internet photo)
A business scam that involves false claims of establishing a Jurassic Park-style entertainment and resort complex is making the rounds as a result of the rising city-building fever in China. Local governments frequently fall victim to this scam. The most recent victim was the government of Daqing, a prefecture-level city in the west of Heilongjiang Province, northeastern China.
In May 30, 2011, Daqing officials and investors kicked off work to construct what was advertised as a world-class leisure and entertainment park — named Dream Jurassic Park — in the city, which owns China's largest oil deposit. The total investment amounted to 5.7 billion yuan (US$935 million).
At the ground-breaking ceremony, the park's developer, Dream Jurassic Park Adventure Era (Beijing) Investment Management Chairman Wang Yaomin, a Chinese American, bragged that the planned park was an upgraded version of Jurassic Park in the United States.
However, the construction, which was scheduled to be completed on Sept. 30, 2013, was stopped long before this date. On a 50-hectare plot of land that was designated to house the planned theme park, only a few residential buildings were erected. A contractor told the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly that long before the end of 2012, the land had already been left to ruin.
The journal said the Daqing government had withdrawn its contract from Wang and that the city police are currently investigating Wang's company for any violations of the law.
What had attracted the local government was the massive dream envisioned by Wang to assist the city's development. In an online interview, Wang had estimated that the planned park, which was expected to accommodate entertainment facilities, a hot-spring resort, and a modern hotel, would attract 20 million visitors per year, 3.4 times the number of people visiting Hong Kong Disneyland per year.
Wang had also persuaded provincial officials to visit the construction site, which he described as Daqing's magnet for other investments.
"I bet this is a hoax," a practicing lawyer in Daqing Li Xianwei stated in an online posting in July 2011, blasting the Dream Jurassic Park development project. He also cast doubt on Wang's capacity as a business tycoon, citing data which indicated that Wang was not in any fortune rankings on the mainland.
Wang's title had also changed from chairman of a Beijing-based infrastructure construction company named Dawosen Investment Management, to Dream Jurassic Park Adventure Era chairman. Industrial and commercial data shows that of the 10 million yuan (US$1.64 million) capital paid-upfront by Dream Jurassic Park Adventure Era, 9.99 million yuan came from Dawosen.
After searching for information on Dawosen online, no public records were found to indicate that the company had ever been involved in any public infrastructure construction projects, the Southern Weekly reported.
Wang Yaomin 王耀民
Li Xianwei 李賢偉