(TMU) — Five contract killers and one wealthy mastermind are facing prison time in Guangxhi, China, for attempted murder in a botched game of “hot potato” that occurred when none of the would-be assassins actually wanted to do the deed.
In 2013, businessman Tan Youhui looked for a hitman that would be willing to murder his competitor, Wei Mou, for the hefty price-tag of 2 million yuan ($282,000 USD), according to a summary from the Nanning Intermediate People’s Court.
Seeking to turn the job into a lucrative business opportunity, the hitman then hired another hitman to complete the job for half of the original commission. The second hitman then subcontracted to another hitman, who then subcontracted to a fourth, who eventually subcontracted to a fifth.
As the job was passed from one enterprising assassin to the next, the contract had dwindled down to a mere 100,000 yuan—or about $14,000 USD.
According to Chinese newspaper Beijing News, the fifth hitman was so incensed at the depreciated price of the contract that he reached out to the target, Mr. Wei, and convinced him to fake his own death—a move that ultimately led to the crumbling of the entire plot.
Wei agreed to the proposition, however, and allowed himself to be photographed bound and gagged in order to fake his own death. The hitman would then personally report the case to the cops.
That’s magazine reports that Wei attempted to find out who the mastermind behind the assassination was, but ultimately failed. After fearing for his life for about three months, he eventually came forward to report the case to the authorities in August 2014.
According to the court’s official website, the plot was hatched in 2013 after Wei sued real the real estate developer Tan. Fearing a lengthy and expensive court battle that would end in his loss, Tan hired a hitman to knock Wei out.
The court found that each of the actors in the farcical plot were guilty of intentional homicide, and each will serve time in prison with the jail sentences resembling the depreciated prices of the subcontracted hits.
The businessman Tan was sentenced to five years in prison, while hitman one, Xi Guangan, is facing three years and six months.
Hitmen two and three—Yang Kangsheng and Yang Guangsheng—were sentenced to three years and three months. Hitman four, Mo Tianxiang, was sentenced to three years. Hitman five, Ling Xiansi, will serve two years and seven months.
Chinese social media has responded to the bizarre tale with massive amusement, with many mocking the botched subcontracting chain as an example of “typical Chinese business” while other wonder which famous Chinese film director would step forward to turn this into a blockbuster film.
One netizen posted to Weibo:
“Quick, quick, quick, which director is going to make a dark comedy movie, the script is all here.”
While another commented:
“I can’t believe this is real, I thought it was a joke.”
Hopefully, an adaptation of the film will eventually be released so that we can enjoy the farce as much as audiences in China.