China policeman held for $51 million graft
The arrest is the latest corruption scandal to hit Shanxi province. -AFP
A POLICEMAN in north China was arrested for organised crime and millions of dollars in illicit assets were frozen in the latest scandal to hit the graft-plagued nation, state press said yesterday.
Guan Jianjun, 41, the former head of a police patrol team in Yangquan city, Shanxi province, is facing over 20 criminal charges for organising crime and protection rackets over the past 13 years, China Radio International said.
The arrest is the latest corruption scandal to hit Shanxi province, the heartland of China's booming coal mining industry that has been rife with graft among an increasingly rich official class and regional mine barons.
Guan's gang of 45 officials, policemen, relatives and cronies have also been charged with trafficking explosives, possession of illegal arms and drugs, armed robbery, assault, provocation, extortion and organised gambling and prostitution, the report said.
About 259 million yuan (S$51.4 million) in assets have been frozen, including personal assets belonging to Guan amounting to about 100 million yuan (S$19.9 million), Xinhua news agency said.
Besides owning 29 apartments in Beijing and other Chinese cities, Guan also owned an 8.4-million-yuan (S$1.7 million) Rolls-Royce, the report said. Police also confiscated hoards of cash, gold, jewels and other precious metals, Xinhua said.
As a career policeman in Yangquan - about 380km southwest of Beijing - Guan began organising criminal activities in the late 1990s, when he operated gambling dens in entertainment venues and bath houses which also served as fronts for prostitution, it said.
By 2004, Guan began operating illegal coal mines, reaping huge profits as energy demand in China skyrocketed, it said.
Guan's arrest comes after Hao Pengjun, a former county mine bureau head and Communist Party official in Shanxi, was jailed in April for 20 years for graft.
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