Chinese urban inspectors sacked after lighting cigarette with burning ‘banknote’
Bureau says the ‘temporary contractors’ were fired for violating regulations
Two urban enforcement officials in southern China have been sacked after a video of one of them setting fire to a fake 100 yuan note (US$15) and using it to light a cigarette was widely circulated online.
Linghu Xiaojie and Li Fuchun are seen in the video in their uniforms, and one of them says “this is so little money” as he lights the cigarette with the flaming banknote, Guiyang Evening Post reported on Friday.
The video of the officials from Zitong county, Guizhou province met with criticism online and in the media after it was posted online on Thursday.
The officials, known as chengguan, enforce by-laws such as street trading.
In a statement, the local urban inspection bureau said two “temporary contractors” were sacked on Thursday night for violating regulations and had “negatively affected the public image of urban inspectors”, according to the report.
The statement also said local police had examined the remnants of the burnt 100 yuan note and confirmed it was not genuine money. Other urban inspectors had confiscated it as evidence, the bureau said.
The team leaders of the two sacked officials were also reprimanded.
Urban enforcement officials generally have a poor reputation in China after several highly publicised cases about heavy-handed and sometimes brutal treatment of suspected offenders.
Last month, local media reported that chengguan in Zhengzhou, Henan province allegedly removed a ladder two workers had used to get to the rooftop of a three-storey building, where they were working on an “unauthorised” billboard. One of the workers fell to his death when he was trying to get down from the rooftop using a rope.