Bribe or donation? Ex-Shenzhen official's retrial focuses on 1 million yuan he sent to temple

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 6:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 11:44am

A new trial against an ex-Shenzhen official opened at the Guangdong High People’s Court, with the prosecution pushing for his conviction over accepting a million-yuan “bribe” that was discounted as a “donation” in the previous trial.

Huang Zhiguang had been found guilty by the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court of taking bribes totalling some 3 million yuan (HK$3.78 million) and for possessing illegal firearms. He was sentenced to 14 years in jail last December.

Authorities confiscated six shotguns, an air gun, jade, luxury ornaments and expensive furniture from him.

But the lower court did not include the contentious 1 million yuan in its sentencing, arguing that because it was donated to a temple, it was not considered a bribe.

Huang was vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Shenzhen and was secretary of Shantou city’s Municipal Party Committee.

This time around, the prosecution is hoping the court will uphold the intermediate court’s conviction – but also to mete out punishment for the 1 million yuan fund. Huang testified in court yesterday that he received the cash in a case from a company executive named Li Yahe.

However, the defence said the money was in fact donated to a temple, untouched, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Huang told the court yesterday that he chose to make the donation in his son’s name, due to his status as a civil servant at the time.

His lawyers argued that since the money came from Li, then-chairman of the Shenzhen Jin Guanghua Industrial Corporation, and Huang did not have a motive for keeping the cash, then the act does not constitute a bribe.

The defence noted that the temple carved a wooden plaque thanking Li – not Huang – for the donations. It was unclear whether the name of Huang’s son was included.

However, the prosecution countered that the money passed through Huang and did not arrive at the temple directly from Li.

The prosecution also maintains that the only two scenarios in which Huang is not liable is if he had given the money to authorities or returned it to Li.

Since the money exchanged hands, and Huang was responsible for processing the donation, he is still guilty, the lawyers argued.