Crackdown on army corruption
By WILLY WO-LAP LAM
BEIJING has begun cracking down on the alarming increase in corruption within the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and police forces.
Anti-graft operations within the PLA, which is normally outside the jurisdiction of the civilian judiciary system, are being spearheaded by the party's Central Military Commission (CMC), as well as the military commission for disciplinary inspection.
Sources said the CMC held a meeting in the summer to find ways to curb corruption and economic crimes within the force.
An informed source said up to 10 army-level officers might be under investigation for alleged graft and economic crimes.
Western diplomats have reported rampant smuggling of cars into Shandong from South Korea. Some of the activity is being done with the connivance, if not participation, of the Army and Navy.
A report in the state-run Economic Daily yesterday spotlighted the smuggling of cars and other goods through the Shandong city of Weihai.
The source said the CMC meeting decided to tighten control of the growing army business empire, but stopped short of calling for measures to scale it down.
One of the moves calls for central control of the PLA's sprawling commercial operations to be re-established so that army-business units comes under the direct control of the CMC, the general staff, logistics and political departments at PLA headquarters, as well as the military-region commands.
Diplomats said, however, that stamping out PLA-related corruption would be difficult because profits from its business offshoots had become a principal source of income for the defence establishment.
Top officials, including CMC vice-chairman Liu Huaqing and Defence Minister Chi Haotian, have recently given hard-hitting speeches on curbing corruption in the Army.
Meanwhile, the Public Security Ministry has launched a nationwide campaign to stem corruption within the police force.
Police authorities in different provinces and cities have drawn up rules to minimise ways in which officers can use their powers to seek economic advantage.
For example, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau yesterday issued five guidelines to maintain clean operations.
Foremost among them is a measure barring public security units from running businesses ''which may be related to the functions and powers of the police''. Examples cited are ballrooms and karaoke bars.
The Guangdong police force is organising a province-wide education campaign among its rank and file, using as a negative example the case of Hong Yonglin, the former police chief of Huizhou, a city near Shenzhen.
A Huizhou court began proceedings on Wednesday against Hong, who is accused of amassing a vast fortune through car smuggling and issuance of exit permits.