More top officials linked to graft probe

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 May, 2009, 12:00am

More senior Guangdong officials have come under suspicion in the corruption scandal that brought down the province's top political adviser and a former top graft-fighter.

A vice-director of Guangdong's Public Security Department had been placed under internal supervision, sources said. The official, who headed the police force in Guangzhou between 1999 and 2005 before being promoted to his current position, had been relieved from daily work and told to hand over his travel documents, a source familiar with the police system said yesterday.

The source said that while the official was still living a normal life, he had been given no further responsibilities in the department since early this month.

He is the latest senior official to be implicated in the scandal involving Guangdong's long-time police chief, Chen Shaoji. Mr Chen was detained and then dismissed by the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection last month for 'severely violating party discipline'.

He headed the provincial law and order system for nearly 13 years before stepping down and becoming chairman of the Guangdong provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in early 2004.

Wang Huayuan, Guangdong's former top graft-buster who moved to Zhejiang in the same capacity three years ago, was also detained and dismissed.

Many people in Guangdong believe more officials could become involved in the case, including a vice-chairman of Guangdong's CPPCC who is a long-time subordinate of Mr Chen. They said Communist Party anti-graft officers had interviewed at least 100 provincial officials, potentially including other senior officials within the Guangdong and Guangzhou CPPCCs.

But, similar to the case of former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu, who was jailed for 18 years for bribery and abuse of power last year, sources said the final number of officials in Guangdong facing punishment would be small.

One of Chen Shaoji's former colleagues said Beijing had tried to calm the majority of Shanghai's officials after taking down Chen Liangyu by limiting the fallout to just several dozen of his immediate subordinates.

One source said the central government was using the Shanghai case as a model in its handling of the Guangdong corruption case. For example, he said the trouble for Chen Shaoji was directly triggered by a case involving his former subordinate Zheng Shaodong, the former assistant head of public security.

Mr Zheng was reported to be under investigation by the party's disciplinary body for his alleged links to mainland billionaire Wong Kwong-yu, who was detained for share-price manipulation in November.

In the Shanghai scandal, anti-graft officers made the move against Chen Liangyu only after collecting sufficient evidence from his subordinates. Chen Liangyu's downfall was linked to a Shanghai billionaire arrested for financial irregularities.

Sources said now was an important period for Guangdong party boss Wang Yang , as he had to handle the financial crisis and the implementation of Pearl River Delta development guidelines approved by the State Council in December.

'It might not be wise for Beijing to punish too many officials at once,' the source close to the police said.

According to the official website of Guangdong's police department, the police chief said to be under internal investigation visited the Canton Fair and the city of Jiangmen last week. The website of the provincial CPPCC still listed the other official said to have been implicated as its vice-chairman.