Bribery exposed as millionaire murderer gets life

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2001, 12:00am

A millionaire businessman paid three million yuan (HK$2.7 million) in bribes to members of the police, prosecutors and the judiciary to avoid a death sentence for the murder of a city official - but was given a life term after a television expose.

The scandal of Liu Yongying, owner of a pig slaughterhouse in Fuzhou's Canshan district and a delegate to the city's People's Congress, was reported by the Beijing Youth Daily yesterday and confirmed by a colleague of the murdered official.

On the evening of November 27, 1998, Zheng Yiqing, the chief security officer of the city's Finance Committee, went to Liu's factory for an inspection and was beaten by employees of the plant. He died of his injuries about three months later. 'Liu was at the scene of the crime and organised the murder,' said a co-worker of Zheng. 'But he did not hit Zheng himself.'

In the months following the attack, and even after Zheng's death, police from Canshan conducted no investigation and did not interview witnesses.

'It is no big deal,' the newspaper quoted Liu as saying at that time. 'With three million yuan, everything can be arranged.' He even retained his position in the People's Congress.

The Intermediate Court of Fuzhou finally heard Liu's case in July last year, sentencing him to three years in prison. Normally, murder carries a death sentence or life imprisonment.

'Zheng's family was outraged,' the official said. 'They wanted the death sentence for Liu. Everything was delayed and delayed until a programme on central television on November 27, which exposed the corruption of the police and judicial officials involved. Without that programme, there would have been no movement in the case.'

The Supreme People's Procuratorate in Beijing ordered a reopening of the case and the court held a second trial in March, in which Liu was sentenced to life in prison.

'Zheng's family are still unhappy. They want a death sentence,' the official said. 'They plan to appeal, as does Liu's family. We will have to await the verdict of the Fujian People's Higher Court.'

The chief of police and head of criminal investigation in Canshan district and a deputy prosecutor and a city judge who received bribes from Liu have been dismissed from their posts.