An open letter to Dr. Chan John

>> Saturday, May 29, 2010

Await Your Response
From: DR CHAN JOHN ([])

Sent: Sun 5/23/10 1:41 PM

I am Dr Chan John (Managing Director and Deputy Chief Executive Hang Seng Bank Hong Kong), before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Gen. Zaki Zazidel who was with the Iraqi forces and also businessman made a numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Five million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only in my branch.Upon maturity several noticiendes was sent to him, even during the war which began in 2003.

Again after the war another notification was sent and still no response came from him. We later find out that Gen. Zaki Zazidel along with his wife and only daughter had been killed during the war in a bomb blast that hit His Resident. After further investigation it was also discovered that Gen. Zaki Zazidel did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So, Five million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one will ever come forward to claim it. What bothers me most is that according to the laws of my country at the expiration 5 years and six month the funds will revert to the ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds. Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a foreigne


I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we shall come out successful. I have an attorney that will prepare the necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to Gen. Zaki Zazidel , all that is required from you at this stage is for you to provide me with your personal phone number/fax so that the attorney can commence his job.After you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also file in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and letter of probate in your favour for the move of the funds to an account that will be provided by you. There is no risk involved at all in this matter, as we are going to adopt a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary documents.

Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all matters concerning this issue, also please send me your personal private cell phone/fax number. And finally after that I shall provide you with more details of this operation. I shall be waiting for your response and assurance along with your recent residential address.

Kind Regards,
Dr Chan John

Dear Dr. John,

I regret having to confess, at the outset, that your blend of jazz-and-zydeco-inflected pop has never done all that much for me. I appreciate the obvious talent you bring to your craft, but I just don't personally enjoy your music that much.

That, however, is not the major obstacle to conducting business with you.

I first met Zaki in college in the mid-'90s. Actually, his real name back then was Zachary Quinn, but he began to go by the pseudonym "Zaki Zazidel" when he started his A Flock Of Seagulls tribute band, Beams Of Light in 1994. He had the most impressive winged mullet anybody had ever seen, but regrettably the fact that the only song Beams Of Light ever learned well enough to play out was "I Ran (So Far Away)", which they would play over and over again during a set, seriously limited the band's appeal to drunken frat parties where those in attendance were too busy vomiting and groping to notice the band was only playing one song over and over again. (Don't get me wrong, it's a great song, it just gets very old after about the third time through in succession.)

I didn't see Zaki for a number of years after graduation, but in 1998 we crossed paths unexpectedly when Zaki was severely beaten after ruining the engine of a redneck's Ford F-150 while demonstrating an "alternative fuel" Zaki had "invented" which turned out to consist essentially of grape-flavored Kool-Aid mixed with Boone's Farm and bat urine. I thought he'd learned his lesson when he was released from the hospital, but then the following year he was arrested by U.S. Wildlife Service Park Rangers while trying to "milk" endangered bats on Federal property. After a brief struggle with rabies and a short term in a psychiatric hospital, the Feds declined to prosecute mostly, I suspect, because the evidence was simply too disgusting to present to a Grand Jury.

I have to say that I don't believe Zaki was actively attempting to defraud anyone. After repeated contacts, including visits to the seaside hospital where he was receiving counseling and a brutal regimen of rabies vaccine shots that had turned most of his abdomen and buttocks a revolting shade somewhere between black and mauve, I remain convinced that Zaki sincerely believed that some sort of "cold fusion" process was occurring when the bat urine interacted with the grape Kool-Aid in a high-proof solution of alcohol (the Boone's Farm).

It was on this good faith basis that I loaned Zaki a considerable sum of money to help him get himself back on his feet after his discharge. This loan was documented in writing, and was to be repaid in full no later than 2005.

In 2000, however, Zaki completely vanished. For the next several years, rumors abounded: he'd re-launched his A Flock Of Seagulls cover band, he was working on an AIDS vaccine in Guatemala, he was working with the Florida Board Of Elections on ballot design; all of these things, remarkably, would turn out to be true, but they did not alter the fact that Zaki, who I once had regarded as a friend, had betrayed my trust and failed to reimburse me for the monies I'd advanced him in the hopes he'd get a nice little job pushing a mop or something equally suitable for his limited level of mental competence. In September 2002, there was brief word that Zaki had been asked to give some sort of PowerPoint presentation to Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and Nicolò Pollari in Italy, then--nothing, he completely vanished.

It distresses me but does not surprise me that Zaki presented himself to your organization as a "general" or claimed to be with "Iraqi forces." Unfortunately, if you conduct a Google search, you'll find that the only hits for "Zaki Zazidel" are letters similar to the solicitation you sent to me, which is unsurprising--as I said, it's a pseudonym he invented for his awful little synth-pop band because he thought it was "really New Wave" and then reused over the years in various scams and schemes; in all fairness, I sometimes suspect Zaki took over Zachary and the young Econ major I sometimes drank beers with had died in the mid-'90s.

It also distresses me that he's gone now, but to be perfectly frank he'd gotten himself in with so many of the wrong people it doesn't surprise me that somebody happened to target a bomb against one of Zaki's roommates or houseguests while Zaki happened to be nearby. (Also: when you say "wife" and "daughter," are you sure you don't mean the miniature Dexter steer named Brian and an old dog-chewed tennis shoe he named Annie? You might be interested to know that neither the marriage to the bovine nor the adoption of the piece of footware was ever legally recognized anywhere, notwithstanding the homemade "Certificate Of Marriage" and "Really Valid Proof Of Adoption This Document Is Real" he liked to show people.)

But the ultimate issue is this: Zaki owed me money. Zaki owed me a lot of money. Plus interest. Therefore, next-of-kin or no (and I do not believe a shoe would be capable of inheriting anything even if it survived the blast), I hereby officially and publicly lay claim to the balance of accounts held by your bank as repayment-in-full of the debt owed to me by Zachary "Zaki Zazidel" Quinn. I imagine you will need to conduct an inventory and figure out shipping costs--I think it's a fairly safe bet that the bulk of this "fortune" actually consists of used baseball cards, backissues of Penthouse magazine, a Casio synthesizer, several vials of bat urine, a much-annotated copy of the piano sheet music for "I Ran (So Far Away)" and, possibly, an old copy of A Flock Of Seagulls' 1982 debut album, A Flock Of Seagulls. But I will take my chances. I'm sure I can sell some of it on eBay.

I will not, of course, be posing as Mr. Quinn's relative, nor will your "legalized method" be necessary. I have all copies of all documents necessary to demonstrate this property is owed to me as collateral/repayment on an outstanding debt. And you will, of course, be hearing from my own lawyer as soon as she sobers up and posts bond. Thank you for your consideration.

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets


vince Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 8:33:00 AM EDT  

Not only are your reponses awesome, I hope you're actually sending them. It would be a hoot to see what the responses back would be.

Eric Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 12:30:00 PM EDT  

Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not actually sending them; I haven't wanted to bother setting up a fake e-mail address and don't want to confirm the existing address to the spambots. There are some wonderful folks around who have sent back brilliantly funny replies and provoked spammers to do all sorts of ridiculous things, ranging from taking embarrassing pictures of themselves to actually getting absurd/obscene tattoos and piercings.

The other hope is that the "open letters," in addition to being amusing (to write, and hopefully for readers), will be educational if they show up on Google when somebody with a poorly-calibrated BS detector is trying to figure out if a spam letter is real.

I'm glad you enjoyed this one, at any rate, and thanks!

timb111 Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 10:12:00 AM EDT  

That was an awesome reply! Your best Open Letter yet.

For hidden e-mail addresses I've been using Spam Gourmet for years. Easy to use and they've never spammed me.

Eric Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 1:05:00 PM EDT  

Thanks for the tip, timb111! I might use that at some point if I decide to really screw with some of these folks.

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