Liu Xiang hit a jackpot of 4.6 million yuan (£467,000) back in February after purchasing a ticket on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Almost immediately after he realised he had won, he got in touch with Yuan Li, his estranged wife, and asked for a divorce without even mentioning his lottery win. Instead, he offered to pay off their shared debt of 250,000 yuan (£25,342). The morning after Yuan signed the divorce papers, Liu went to collect his prize.
According to the South China Morning Post, Liu would have pulled it off had a friend of the couple not called Yuan to congratulate them both on the win, not knowing that the pair had been estranged since July 2013 and had only just gotten a divorce. Yuan sued Liu, claiming that she was owed half the prize money as they were still married when he purchased the ticket.
Liu told a local television station that it was sheer coincidence that he collected the money the day after the divorce was finalised. Despite testimony from Liu’s daughter, who insisted that her father had played the lottery for years using the same numbers and that her grandmother almost never bought tickets, the court accepted his claim that his mother had purchased the winning entries and so awarded Yuan one quarter of the prize money.
There are two state lotteries in mainland China - the China Sports Lottery and the China Welfare Lottery. Visit Lotto.cn to learn more about the games on offer, and don’t forget to tell your spouse or partner that you love them - especially if you think they’re about to enjoy a run of luck on lottery games.