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Chinese Businessman Buys Jet Fighter on EBay

A Chinese businessman has bought a MiG-21f jet fighter from a U.S. seller on the online auction Web site eBay (EBAY) for $24,730 and plans to use it to decorate an empty space at his offices, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The Beijing News newspaper identified the Chinese buyer as Zhang Cheng.

"I like to collect valuable items. I have the buying power and my company has an empty space where I can display the plane," the newspaper quoted Zhang as saying.

The eBay Web site for the transaction shows the plane is currently located in Lewiston, Idaho.

It said the fighter jet, last flown in 1995, has been inspected by a museum and found to be in excellent condition.

The seller was only identified by the username "inkgirle."

The Beijing News quoted Zhang as saying he learned from the seller's son by telephone that the fighter jet was retired by the Czech military.

It wasn't immediately clear if the fighter jet can be imported into China. Zhang said he is waiting for government authorities to get back to him, The Beijing News reported.

An operator at China's customs department said no one was available for comment.

"There is the precedent of a Chinese company buying a retired aircraft carrier, but I don't know if this jet plane is a banned item," Zhang reportedly said.

Zhang was apparently referring to the Soviet-built Minsk aircraft carrier that a Chinese company bought and converted into a floating theme park in the southern city of Shenzhen. The company went bankrupt and recently put the ship up for sale.

The report gave no indication where in China Zhang was located.

eBay's government relations department didn't immediately respond to a reporter's e-mail seeking comment.