Township chief's trial fires up bloggers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 February, 2012, 12:00am

The trial of a Beijing township chief has set the internet abuzz on the mainland, with many internet users asking how a low official could embezzle 200 million yuan (HK$246 million) of government funds.

Li Bingchun, the 51-year-old head of Liqiao town in Shunyi district, will set a record for embezzlement by a township head if convicted, the Procuratorial Daily reported yesterday. The trial began on Wednesday.

'If a small township chief could embezzle 200 million yuan, then how much money for county head, district head, mayor and provincial governor?' one microblogger asked.

The court heard Li had set up a fake demolition company between 2006 and 2007 and received about 10 million yuan from a government demolition compensation fund.

He also allegedly took 20 million yuan given by a property developer to the town government and allegedly received 8.6 million yuan in compensation after claiming that one of his company premises had been demolished to make way for a highway.

The court also heard that companies owned by Li and aide Sun Qishi had embezzled 66 million yuan in land compensation funds between June and August 2006 which they lent to a property developer.

Between March 2006 and September 2009, they transferred 49.6 million yuan from government units to their companies and lent the money to another property developer.

'Township head, you are gorgeous, and the guy who appointed you is also gorgeous,' one internet user wrote. 'You are the smartest corrupt officials, setting new records.'

Another user asked: 'Where have the town's party and inspection officials gone? Shouldn't they be held responsible too?'