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Judge upsets Web users with use of costly shoes
A vice-magistrate in a Sichuan county has become the target of online anger after reportedly being photographed wearing Italian shoes valued at above 5,000 yuan (HK$6,100) while performing inspection work.
A news portal for Hunan province, Voc.com.cn, reported on Wednesday that Liao Weizhong of Shuangliu county was wearing Ferragamo shoes. It cited a post in one of its forums showing two photos of Liao in the shoes, with one of him at a muddy construction site.
The online outcry was swift on forums and microblogs. Some Web users found the shoes sold for as much as 8,000 yuan on the mainland.
In response to the public anger, the Shuangliu publicity department posted a link on its official microblog that night pointing to an interview with Liao on Chengdu's official news portal, Chengdu.cn.
Liao was quoted by the website as saying the shoes were a gift from his wife two to three years ago and cost about 4,000 yuan. He said his wife of 24 years bought him the pair in Chengdu on his birthday.
He said the photos were taken around the Lunar New Year, and guessed that they had been put online because he had 'refused unreasonable demands from enterprises and therefore suffered retaliation.'
The Shuangliu department refuted online rumours, such as one claiming Liao sold land of the Southwest Airport Zone in the county for personal profit when he was director of the zone's management committee in 2008. The report on Chengdu.cn quoted the committee as saying it took back land in 2008 that had been left unused for three years, and that the county's land and resources bureau sold the land legally last year.
Some critics compared Liao with Zhou Jiugeng, a former Nanjing official who was jailed for 11 years in 2009 after a picture on the Web showed him carrying cigarettes that cost 150 yuan a pack. He was later found to have taken bribes of more than 1 million yuan.