Shenzhen village official's accuser taken into custody

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2012, 5:04am

A man who accused a senior village official in Shenzhen of being corrupt and owning more than 80 properties and 20 cars was arrested by police on Tuesday before he was scheduled to provide more evidence to reporters.

A spokesman for the police bureau in the city's Longgang district confirmed to the South China Morning Post yesterday that Zhou Zujie, a 41-year-old resident of Nanlian village, was detained for alleged commercial fraud.

He is one of a handful of people who accused village official Zhou Weisi, in an open letter that has been widely circulated online since Sunday, of owning assets worth more than 2 billion yuan (HK$2.47 billion).

The whistle-blower was scheduled to attend a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to provide more evidence of the official's alleged corruption.

Zhou Zujie's family and other villagers have questioned whether his sudden arrest was the result of retribution from the official, but Longgang police denied such speculation, saying his arrest was not linked to the allegations.

"Longgang police started investigating Zhou Zujie in June for falsely reporting the registered capital of a landscaping company under his name," police told the Post, adding that he falsely reported the company's registered capital in May as 5 million yuan instead of the real 100,000 yuan. Police also alleged he acquired more than 3 million yuan in land-requisition compensation by pretending to own property that was not in his name.

Longgang police said they detained Zhou Zujie in May and formally arrested him in July, but he was later released on bail.

"However, after further investigation, police found that Zhou [Zujie] falsely reported the registered capital for three other companies under his name, and prosecutors decided to arrest him [on Tuesday]," the police said.

The arrest came the same day the village official was suspended and placed under investigation.