1 million yuan in assets returned to top official jailed for taking bribes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2007, 12:00am

A Beijing court has returned more than 1 million yuan in assets to a former senior State Food and Drug Administration official but upheld his 15-year sentence for gun possession and taking bribes.

The Beijing Higher People's Court upheld a lower-court jail term handed down to Hao Heping , 56, former head of the administration's Department of Medical Equipment, according to the Beijing Times.

Hao's wife, Fu Yuqing, was sentenced to five years in jail.

But in a rare move the court has decided to return the assets - including 600,000 yuan in savings, shares, luxury watches, golden handicrafts and a knife - after the couple filed an appeal arguing that the assets were not gained through bribery but were their life savings.

In November, the Beijing No1 Intermediate People's Court ordered the seizure of 200,000 yuan in proceeds gained through Hao's corrupt activities.

Hao was convicted of taking bribes from four medical equipment companies in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhejiang and Shanxi between 2002 and 2004 in return for endorsing the companies' product lines.

He also was convicted of illegally possessing six air pistols that he claimed were works of art given by friends as gifts.

But the report cited an appeal document submitted by the couple as saying that another 1 million yuan in assets, apart from the 200,000 yuan confiscated, also was seized.

The letter said Hao and his wife would lose their retirement nest egg if the court could not return the assets.

Tian Xiaoqiong, a law professor from the Central University for Nationalities, told the newspaper that returning assets could help criminals repent and start anew.

Hao was among a number of drug officials brought down recently because of corruption scandals.

He also was a top aide of Zheng Xiaoyu , the former director of the State Food and Drug Administration, who went on trial in Beijing last week on charges of taking millions of yuan in bribes and dereliction on duty.