Xinhua News Agency

Fugitive official spared death

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 August, 2007, 12:00am

A former Yunnan transport official convicted of taking more than 40 million yuan in bribes and arrested on the run in Singapore was spared the death penalty yesterday and sentenced to life in prison.

The relatively lenient sentence sought to encourage more corrupt officials fleeing abroad to hand themselves over to the mainland authorities and confess their crimes, legal analysts quoted by Xinhua said.

Hu Xing, 49, former deputy director of the provincial transport department, fled to Singapore on January 19 on a fake passport about a month after one of his aides, Zeng Hua, was arrested for corruption.

Police persuaded Hu in February to return to the mainland voluntarily and face prosecution, said Cai Shunbin, spokesman for the Kunming Intermediate People's Court.

Hu also confessed to some crimes that the authorities were unaware of and handed in all his illegal income to the government, Mr Cai added. The court seized all his property as well.

The court responded to his willingness to give himself up and to his remorse by handing down a relatively light sentence, Xinhua reported.

Hu took bribes from 1995 to last year, according to a previous Xinhua report. He also kept a long-term mistress, with whom he had a daughter, and had other extramarital affairs.

'Hu's case will help urge other corrupt officials who have fled to report themselves to the mainland government and face judicial punishment,' Mr Cai said.

Meanwhile, two Zhejiang officials were expelled from the Communist Party for taking bribes, the China News Service reported.