Wen Qiang gets death for corruption

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 April, 2010, 12:00am

Former Chongqing justice chief Wen Qiang, the highest-ranking official snared in a crackdown on crime syndicates and their police protectors in the southwestern municipality, was sentenced to death by the city's No 5 Intermediate People's Court yesterday.

An online portal owned by the Chongqing Daily News group, cqnews.net, said Wen was found guilty of taking bribes, sheltering organised crime syndicates, possessing assets he could not account for and rape. All of his personal assets were confiscated. Wen, 54, was the head of the municipality's judicial administrative bureau before his arrest in August. He had earlier been its deputy police chief for 16 years.

In the high-profile crackdown launched by city party chief Bo Xilai in June last year, more than 3,300 people have been detained, including three billionaires, nearly 100 officials and more than 60 gang bosses. Hundreds have faced trial.

Wen's wife, Zhou Xiaoya, burst into tears yesterday after being sentenced to eight years in jail for accepting bribes worth 4.49 million yuan (HK$5 million), together with Wen. The court ordered the confiscation of 500,000 yuan of her assets.

Three other former senior officials in Chongqing's Public Security Bureau, Huang Daiqiang , Zhao Liming and Chen Tao , were jailed for between 171/2 years and 20 years for corruption and offering protection to organised crime syndicates. The court found that Wen had taken profits of 12.11 million yuan from development projects and had abused his power to promote and transfer officials. The court also found Wen guilty of raping a woman in August 2007 and being unable to account for the source of assets worth 10.44 million yuan.

The court found that Wen had shielded triad bosses, including his sister in-law Xie Caiping , from justice from 2003 to 2008. Xie was sentenced to 18 years in prison in November on charges of running illegal gambling dens and drug dealing. The China Youth Daily reported that 640,000 criminal cases remained unsolved and 1,447 murders were not investigated during Wen's time in the Public Security Bureau.

The newspaper interviewed the team investigating Wen's case and said his home was described as 'palace-like', with a two-metre-tall ivory screen at its entrance.

One police officer said: 'I knew it would be grand, but I never thought it would be that grand'.

The investigators retrieved a truckload of upmarket luxury goods from Wen's house. Mainland lawyer Teng Biao said that while he personally was not an advocate for the death penalty, he believed Wen's sentence would please the public.

However, he said, corruption on the mainland was institutionalised and rampant and the death penalty was no longer a sufficient deterrent to stop officials from taking bribes.

Wen was tried in February on charges of links to gangsters, rape and taking bribes.

When Wen was placed under shuanggui, a Communist Party disciplinary procedure in August, he offered details of his decadent lifestyle, probably thinking that the confessions would get him off the hook, the Yangtse Evening News reported at the time. It also said Wen had confessed to forcing underaged girls to have sex with him.

Whenever Wen set his eyes on an actress or singer visiting Chongqing, he would use every means to bed her, including money and blackmail, it said. It also said Chen Guangming, a decorated captain on the police narcotics team who was also among the thousands arrested in the anti-triad campaign, was found to have been Wen's mistress.

When Wen was arrested for shielding triad activities, his wife called him a 'beast' and led police to a fish pond beside Chongqing's airport expressway in which Wen had stashed 20 million yuan in banknotes. Without her help, police might never have discovered the stash.

Dirty money

Wen's wife, Zhou Xiaoya, jailed for eight years for taking bribes

During Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai's crackdown, officials who have been arrested number almost: 100