A Xinhua, China, woman was recently apprehended after fleeing from her home in Xinhua to the city of Shenzen in an attempt to evade payment of $3.7 million in personal credit card debt. But when police located 59-year-old Zhu Najuan, they received quite a surprise.
"According to news reports, Ms. Najuan had undergone so much plastic surgery, she was nearly unrecognizable," says Henderson, Nevada, plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Mitchell.
Xinhua police claim Najuan used "borrowed" credit cards to finance her plastic surgery procedures in an effort to hide her identity and avoid paying her credit card bills. Officers on the scene reported that Najuan looked to be in her 30s, not her late 50s, and they were initially shocked that the woman they were arresting was the same woman in the photos known to be of Najuan.
"They don’t say which procedures she had," Mitchell says, "but if you look at the photos floating around that claim to be her before and after photos, it looks as though she may have had a facelift or eye lift."
China is currently undergoing a series of debt-related growing pains as it transitions to a credit society. Many cities are reporting problems with debtors like Najuan trying to escape their obligations and simply not pay their debts. Meanwhile, data shows that personal debt in China has more than doubled in less than a decade and has now reached nearly 50 percent GDP.
As for Mitchell, he offers this wisdom to anyone considering going under the knife to evade the law.
"I always tell my patients to make sure they’re getting surgery for the right reasons," he says. "Usually the right reasons are because it’s what they want, not what someone else wants for them. But in this case it also means ‘not because you’re trying run from the law.’"