China’s anti-corruption campaign snares 1,689 in Guangdong in 2018

  • Many high-ranking Communist Party officials, civil servants arrested for criminal activities, official newspaper says
  • Announcement comes just days after party declares ‘crushing victory’ in war on corruption
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2018, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2018, 8:24pm

Senior civil servants and high ranking members of the Communist Party were among the 1,689 people arrested in south China’s Guangdong province this year on suspicion of gang-related crimes, according to the official newspaper of the anti-corruption watchdog.

One of the most senior figures snared was Zheng Hailu, a former member of the Shanwei party committee and deputy director of the city’s public security bureau, the paper reported on Sunday.

Shanwei is a coastal city in eastern Guangdong that has long had a reputation for being a haven for smugglers.

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After reviewing a number of cases dating back over a decade, the local division of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection ruled in July that Zheng was at the centre of various unsolved narcotics crimes.

After he was removed from office, a task force rooted out several criminal gangs based in Shanwei and the nearby cities of Lufeng and Haifeng.

Another senior official to fall foul of the authorities this year was Li Shi, a member of the party committee of Guangdong’s land and natural resources department and a director of its law enforcement supervision bureau, the report said.

The Guangdong Commission for Discipline Inspection said in June that Li had committed serious violations of regulations and laws. Several weeks after his arrest, the owners and operators of several local mines that had links to the corrupt official were also rounded up by the police, the report said.

A third senior official to be mentioned by name was Liu Duqi, party secretary of the village of Yuanxia in Taihe county.

Following investigations by discipline inspectors and public security officials he was found to have connections with 14 criminal gangs, 26 members of which were also arrested, the report said.

An official from the anti-corruption watchdog in Guangdong was quoted as saying that criminal gangs often went undetected for many years because they had the “protective umbrella” of a corrupt official. Only when that protection had been removed could the gangs be rounded up, the person said.

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A second official, from the discipline inspection commission in Shanwei, who also was not named, agreed.

“When we’re looking into the ‘protective umbrellas’ of some criminal gangs, we put administrative and law enforcement officials and grass-roots officers at the top of the list,” he said.

“When checking law and regulation violation cases, we review whether officials have acted to protect those gangs.”

China’s Communist Party last week declared it had achieved a “crushing victory” in its efforts to stamp out corruption. Since President Xi Jinping launched a nationwide campaign in late 2012, more than 1.3 million party officials at various levels of government, from powerful “tigers” to low-ranking “flies”, have been caught.