ANTI-CORRUPTION CRACKDOWN
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Corruption in China

Confessions of a corrupt Chinese cadre: jailed former city boss dies of cancer after setting off graft investigation storm

Luo Yinguo’s evidence implicated huge numbers of other officials in Maoming and Guangdong province

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2016, 3:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2016, 3:35am

A former Communist Party chief of a southern Chinese city whose downfall for corruption triggered investigations into 300 local officials, died in prison of stomach cancer, according to a newspaper report.

Luo Yinguo, 62, died on Friday and was cremated the next day, ­Beijing Youth Daily reported ­on Monday.

Corruption at the top puts Maoming in the spotlight

Luo became Maoming’s mayor in 2003 and the city’s Communist Party secretary four years later. The corruption investigation against him began in 2011.

Why give me a hard time? If you really want a confession, I can confess for three days and turn the official circles of Maoming upside down
Luo Yinguo

Luo reportedly told investigators: “Why give me a hard time? If you really want a confession, I can confess for three days and turn the official circles of Maoming upside down.”

He then exposed more than 100 allegedly corrupt officials within a month.

Guangdong anti-corruption inspectors said in April 2012 that Luo’s case had implicated 24 ­provincial-level officials and 218 county-level cadres, including two former vice-mayors and a ­police chief of Maoming.

Within months of his confessions, dozens of new senior officials had to be recruited from across the country to fill the posts.

New probe of Maoming city’s massive graft scandal

Luo was convicted in 2013 of taking bribes from 64 party officials and businesspeople.

These amounted to 100 million yuan (HK$116 million) in bribes or assets received between 1993 and 2011.

He was given a death sentence suspended for two years. Mainland authorities usually commute these sentences to life terms with good behaviour.

Luo’s predecessor as Maoming party secretary, Zhou Zhenhong, and his successor in the role, Liang Yimin, also fell from grace for corruption. Liang is awaiting sentencing for taking 230 million yuan in bribes.

Zhu Mingguo, the party secretary of the Guangdong anti-graft commission who handled Luo’s case, was also placed under investigation for corruption in 2014.

Mistrust of Maoming officials raises concern of chemical plant protesters

In an interview with Guangdong tabloid New Express two years ago, Luo said he had quit smoking in jail and worked assembling light bulbs from 7am to 5.30pm. He boasted he had increased work efficiency from making 1,000 light bulbs a day to 4,000.

Luo was jailed in Yangjiang Prison in Guangdong, where about 70 prisoners implicated in Luo’s case served their sentence.

But Luo said he deliberately asked not to be kept in a prison area with other inmates locked up for corruption or dereliction of duty.

He appeared on a China Central Television programme in 2014 to talk about his prison life.

He said he had settled down to life behind bars, but had only appeared in the media because the prison authorities had pressed him to do so.

His wife is serving a six-year jail term for taking bribes.

He is also survived by a son and a daughter.