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Beware of doomsday scams, police say

(China Daily)

09:11, December 17, 2012

Police nationwide are warning the public to be wary of "end of the world" scams.

The approach on Friday of so-called doomsday, based on the ancient Mayan calendar, has caused some unrest and panic-buying, according to authorities.

Last week, police in Wangcang county, Sichuan province, detained two men who were spreading information about the "end of the world" prophecy and trying to persuade residents to join a cult, China News Service reported over the weekend.

Shoppers in Shuangliu county, also in Sichuan, and Jilin provincial capital Changchun, cleared out stores' supplies of candles after rumors circulated of three days of darkness starting on Friday.

Yang Guang, an astronomer at the National Astronomical Observatories satellite observation station in Changchun, said there is no scientific reason to think the world will end on Friday.

"Dec 21 is the winter solstice and it's just the change of seasons," he said. "The day is short and the night is long, but it's a normal, natural event."

Some of the candle-buyers later said they think the rumors were aimed at undermining social order and cheating people out of their money, according to reports.

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