Chinese bank manager hid in a cave for eight years


Mr Chen, 42, was already a prosperous businessman in 1995 when he was given a golden ticket: a job at one of China’s largest state-owned banks.
Like many others before him, he quickly took advantage, quietly siphoning off money and buying his own discotheque, supermarket, shrimp farm and plastics factory. Investigators later confiscated a five-story building he owned in downtown Lingao, and his seven luxury cars.
In 2003, however, a routine check exposed the 23 million yuan (£2.3 million) he had stolen, reportedly with the co-operation of most of the branch’s 34 other employees.
Mr Chen, who had spent time in the army, was forced to go on the run, and disappeared into the nearby hills.
“When I found out that my case was the biggest in the province at the time, I panicked,” he told the Legal Daily newspaper, from his prison cell.
“I crossed a big river and hid in a cave up in the mountains with leaves covering my face. I could see some policemen searching for me with guns and dogs. I was terrified,” he added. Afterwards, he dug a network of tunnels around the cave, which he would dash into when he heard anyone approach. “The tunnels were big enough to hold me, but small enough to be hidden with branches and leaves,” he said. “I stayed in one of the tunnels for more than two months.” He said he grew increasingly paranoid, flinching at any unusual sounds, and he dismissed his chances of escape, reasoning that he would be caught on security cameras if he tried to run to a different city.
For years, he survived by digging up sweet potatoes and wild herbs, but he also made several clandestine trips to visit his wife, Deng Qingmei, and their two sons. In 2006, his wife served three years in prison for conspiring to hide him. His relatives snuck him food, books and newspapers, which he would read at night and then bury, rather than burn, in case he left any traces. “Physical pain is not the worst. I missed my family so much. I have been living like a mouse in the past years and I would rather die,” he said. Finally, after reading in late 2010 that criminals who turned themselves in would be treated leniently, Mr Chen decided to give himself up in November last year. He was allowed to meet with his family, and he apologized to his wife. His trial is under way in Hainan.