Two former senior Guangdong police officers landed their former boss in custody after exposing graft allegations against him on the internet.
Zheng Beiquan, 41, formerly deputy mayor and public security bureau chief in Yingde, had been taken for investigation by Qingyuan's discipline inspection committee, the anti-graft body said on Monday. Yingde is a county-level city under the supervision of Qingyuan.
Zheng is accused of bending the law for personal gain and involvement in "serious economic problems". No details were given.
The investigation began after an open letter was posted in several mainland chat rooms in September accusing Zheng of acting as a "protective umbrella" for a drug gang and exerting his influence to prevent an investigation.
The letter was signed by a former deputy director of Yingde's public security bureau, Xie Longsheng, and its former political commissar, Zhu Yingzhong. A source close to Xie and Zhu yesterday said the two officials were forced to leave the city's bureaucracy in August and had reported Zheng to the authorities at various levels.
"They decided to make the real-name report because they believed Zheng's corrupt activities would be uncovered in the future," the source said. "If they didn't report it today, they would have become involved in Zheng's crimes and be treated as his pals.
"But they are still worried about their safety. Justice is still not guaranteed as Zheng is only under investigation."
Xie and Zhu said they had led a police team in a March 23 raid on a Yingde hotel that was a base for drug dealers. The raid netted 38 members of a suspected drug-dealing ring and more than 100 drug users.
The pair said Zheng had put pressure on the team after they discovered that Zheng's brother and one of his classmates were the hotel's main shareholders.
In July, Zheng allegedly forced the team to delete the files of the 38 suspected drug dealers, and in August Xie and Zhu were removed from their public security bureau posts.