Woman at centre of Chongqing sex tape scandal faces years in jail
Zhao accused of extortion
The woman who appeared in a sex tape that forced a Chongqing district level party chief to resign and triggered the expulsion of 10 other officials has been handed to prosecutors after being charged with extortion, theYangtze Daily reported on Friday.
If convicted, Zhao Hongxia could face years in jail, said the report. It also cited Zhu Ruifeng, the whistleblower of the case, as saying that Zhao could face up to 15 years.
Zhao was in tears after being told her husband had hired a lawyer for her, the report said. The first question Zhao allegedly asked the lawyer during his visit was, “was he [the husband]” hurt?”
Zhao allegedly worked with other young women to trap Chongqing officials including Lei Zhengfu.
Using Zhao and several other young women as bait, Chongqing businessman Xiao Ye was accused of luring at least a dozen Chongqing officials into a “honey trap”.
Xiao trained the women and asked them to secretly videotape officials when having sex with them. Then he blackmailed these officials and demanded they give him lucrative government contracts, according to media reports.
Zhao is now married and mother of a one-year-old. Reflecting on what she had done, she said she had been too naive.
After Zhao's arrest, netizens sympathised with her and called her “ a victim herself.” Many joked that she was an exceptional "anti-corruptions fighter".
Zhao's lawyer, Zhang Zhiyong, declined to comment on Friday.
On the same day that the sex scandal cost Lei Zhengfu, 54, his post as Beibei district party secretary, one of his counterparts in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, was reportedly fired amid bribery allegations, underscoring the breadth of the country's corruption problem.
The video went viral after two citizen journalists, Ji Xuguang and Zhu Ruifeng, posted stills from it online showing the district chief in bed with a woman who was known to frequently accompany him and refer to him as "godfather".
Lei initially claimed the pictures had been doctored when questioned by Xinhua reporters.