Former Kunming official arrested

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 February, 2007, 12:00am

Ex-deputy mayor investigated in corruption probe

Hu Xing , a former vice-mayor of the Yunnan provincial capital of Kunming , has reportedly been arrested over allegations of involvement in a major corruption scandal in the city.

Hu, also a former deputy director of the Yunnan Communications Bureau, was arrested on Tuesday in Guangzhou. Yunnan police, however, would not confirm reports of his arrest yesterday.

Informed sources said Zeng Hua, the former head of the Kunming Urban Planning and Land Administration Bureau, had also been arrested in connection with the Hu investigation.

Several officials have been subject to shuanggui - a form of Communist Party investigation - including Tang Hanying , the former head of the Kunming Land Resources Centre, Zhai Jianguo , the former director of the Kunming Garden and Green Space Bureau, and a division head of the southwestern city's tax bureau.

Kunming media reported that Hu had allegedly used his influence to help his brother Li Bin , who adopted their mother's surname, obtain permission to build a luxury high-rise development in the city centre despite a ban on such projects.

The reports said a company set up by his brother in 2003 with a registered capital of 5 million yuan had raked in more than 2 billion yuan from one luxury property development and had evaded at least 100 million yuan in tax.

The fall of Hu Xing has been described as the biggest corruption scandal in Kunming in recent years.

Hu, described by colleagues as a 'pragmatic person', fled Yunnan after he found out he was being investigated. The Ministry of Public Security had issued a 50,000 yuan reward for his arrest.

Many in Kunming were surprised by Hu's fall from grace, as he was widely known as a low-key official. 'He is a nice guy who doesn't like to show off. His image was very clean. We have never seen him wearing any luxury items,' said a Kunming government employee.

Hu was director of the Kunming Urban Planning and Land Administration between 1999 and 2001. He was promoted to deputy mayor in 2001 and was appointed deputy director of the Yunnan Communications Bureau in 2004.