Senior Guangdong official Zhou Zhenhong gets suspended death sentence for graft

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 2:27am

A former senior provincial official from Guangdong was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking 24.6 million yuan (HK$31 million) in bribes and having 37 million yuan worth of unidentified property, a Henan court said yesterday.

Earlier, the Xinyang Intermediate People's Court heard that Zhou Zhenhong, the ex-chief of Guangdong's United Front Work Department, took advantage of his role to sell official positions, including political advisory seats, and took millions in bribes.

Zhou was also found to have a huge amount of property, the source of which he failed to explain.

It is common practice on the mainland for authorities to stage trials of former officials in another province, far from their circle of influence.

The court decided to give Zhou a reprieve as he had confessed to his crimes during the investigation and returned all his illicit gains, the judgment read.

Zhou was placed under investigation in January 2012 and was stripped of his party membership and official posts a year later, amid the massive corruption scandal in Maoming, in western Guangdong, where he was party secretary from 2002 to 2007.

Dozens of officers from the Central Commission of Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's internal anti-graft agency, descended on the city last year in an anti-corruption drive which resulted in the sacking of more than 300 local officials.

Xinhua reported last year that the CCDI found Zhou had received large quantities of cash and expensive gifts.