Judge who took bribes, turned blind eye sacked

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 August, 2010, 12:00am

The top judge in a county in Henan was dismissed last week for accepting bribes and turning a blind eye to illegal mining operations that resulted in an accident in March that killed 44 people, Xinhua reported.

Two workers died in a gas leak at the mine in Yichuan county, Luoyang , in May last year but the tragedy was covered up. The authorities eventually found out about the accident and the Yichuan County People's Court gave mine owner Wang Guozheng a suspended one-year jail sentence in September.

That should have seen Wang banned from running mines for five years, but by paying bribes he managed to continue to run his mine. Instead of passing a copy of the judgment and other judicial papers to the police, the court just passed them to Wang.

Yichuan County People's Court chief Zhang Guoqing was found to have received at least three bribes. Six other court officials were also arrested. Two other court officials are on the run.

Forty-four workers died at Wang's mine on March 31 when a gas leak caused an explosion which flattened buildings and buried miners in the pit.

Officials implicated

Number of court officials, other than the judge, implicated in a cover-up: 8