Police pressure sex-tape whistle-blower in corruption scandal

Citizen journalist vows to continue exposing officials after being questioned for seven hours

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 4:12am

A whistle-blower who holds sex tapes of senior officials was interrogated by Chongqing police for about seven hours in Beijing yesterday after he said more incriminating items could be released.

It was the latest development in a scandal that has cost 11 Chongqing officials their jobs for allegedly appearing in secretly filmed sex videos.

Zhu Ruifeng, a citizen journalist who reports official corruption, addressed a small gathering of media representatives in front of a police station in Xicheng district after being questioned, alleging that Chongqing police were not interested in protecting whistle-blowers, just capturing them. And he defiantly said he would continue to expose official malfeasance.

"Two Chongqing police officers asked me to hand over all of the materials I had related to the scandal. I refused because that demand was obviously part of a fishing expedition [to identify the source of the tapes]," Zhu said, adding that he would disclose more materials involving senior officials once he and his source independently verified the authenticity of the tapes.

Zhu uploaded screenshots of a sex video in late November showing Lei Zhengfu , a 57-year-old district party chief in Chongqing, allegedly engaged in intimate relations with an 18-year-old woman.

Lei was fired days after the screenshots were uploaded and went viral online. But details were withheld until late last week, when Xinhua announced the removal of 10 more local officials, and reported that a construction company hired at least one woman to help it extort favourable deals from officials.

Zhu said his source in the Chongqing police department told him the woman in the tape was detained by the local police. Chongqing police could not be reached for comment.

Wang Peng , one of Zhu's lawyers who accompanied him to the police station, said Zhu's earlier comments probably caused a great stir among Chongqing officials.

"They are worried that Zhu may keep doing this and reveal more scandals that they can't afford to keep dealing with."

Two Chongqing police officers, accompanied by their Beijing counterparts, visited Zhu's home on Sunday night. He said they banged on his door for three hours, but he refused to open the door - opting instead to speak to them only with the door closed. The tense situation followed a visit by police to his ex-wife's home to gather more information about him, he said.

"Whistle-blowers have the right to refuse inquiries from authorities," Zhang said.

Chongqing police believed the videos were handed to Zhu by the extortionists and were evidence in Lei's case, the city's official news portal reported. It said Zhu should assist the police's investigation and provide evidence in accordance with the law.