Shanghai's top court probes sex allegations against court officials

Investigation launched after blog post claims judges were caught on video with prostitutes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 August, 2013, 9:43am

Shanghai's top court has promised an investigation into allegations that court officials have patronised prostitutes and committed other potential violations of Communist Party discipline.

The five officials from Shanghai's Higher People's Court became the latest party cadres embroiled in accusations of sexual impropriety after an anonymous blogger released a video that it said showed them out on the town with prostitutes.

Court authorities confirmed that Chen Xueming, a chief tribunal judge, and Zhao Minghua, a deputy tribunal chief judge, were among those under scrutiny.

Surveillance footage included in the blog post appeared to show a group of men coming and going from a Shanghai night club, with young women on their arms. The blogger said the officials had visited a night club at the Hengshan Resort in Shanghai's Pudong New Area on June 9 and booked the biggest private room available.

They chose five prostitutes to entertain them. Around midnight that night, the officials took the women to separate guest rooms on the third floor, the post said. The women were seen leaving the rooms about an hour later, but the officials left the resort together the next morning.

The blogger said the night on the town was just one example of the officials' extravagant lifestyles. It said Zhao owns at least four flats in downtown Shanghai and frequents two local night clubs: the Yinzun club in Pudong and the Dream in Shanghai club in Changning district.

The blogger said he had more videos of the same group of cadres and was willing to share them with disciplinary officials.

The post spread quickly online yesterday where it was met with outrage from internet users.

"The officials should be removed from their post immediately," a Shenzhen internet user named Kou Liyue said. "The Shanghai Higher People's Court is one of the most high-profile courts on the mainland and its officials went to brothels together."

The claims were only the latest in a series of sex scandals involving government officials.

Last month, Lei Zhengfu, the former party secretary of Chongqing's Beibei district, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after a video was released on the internet showing him having sex with a young woman.

The case led to the downfall of more than 20 officials at various agencies and state-owned enterprise in Chongqing. During his trial, Lei, 55, denied accepting a 3.2 million yuan (HK$4 million) bribe and retracted a confession he had made saying he had been suffering high blood pressure during questioning.