A top Communist Party official in Dandong , Liaoning , fled the mainland four months ago to escape investigation, a local party official confirmed yesterday amid rumours he is now in the United States with 200 million yuan (HK$244 million) in ill-gotten gains.
Wang Guoqiang , the former party head of Fengcheng, a county-level city in Dandong, had left the country in April without authorisation, the state-run people.com.cn  news portal reported yesterday, quoting an official from Dandong's party organisation department.
The official said Wang had stepped down from his post in March and was now under investigation. The report gave no details of the inquiry or the charges Wang could face.
Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post reported that Wang had been transferred to a Dandong construction project office following a serious blackout in Fengcheng during the Lunar New Year holiday.
Online rumours that surfaced in May said that after learning he could be investigated, Wang went to the US on a business tour in April, joining his wife and children who were already living there.
A report released last year by the People's Bank of China's anti-money-laundering monitoring and analysis centre said that as many as 18,000 corrupt mainland officials may have fled abroad with as much as 800 billion yuan in less than two decades.
Professor Cai Lihui , a political analyst at Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University, said Wang's case showed the authorities' measures against official corruption were ineffective.
"The cadres know very well how to escape and transfer money," Cai said.