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Former mayor receives suspended death sentence for corruption

By CAO YIN | | Updated: 2022-12-23 16:15
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A former mayor of Hegang, a city in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on Friday for multiple crimes involving corruption, according to a local court.

The Intermediate People's Court in Jixi, Heilongjiang, handed down the suspended death sentence to Liang Chengjun for corruption. In addition, Liang was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison and fined 1 million yuan ($143,000) for taking bribes.

He also received two additional five-year sentences — one for abusing his power and another for possessing large amounts of property without a verifiable funding source, said the court, which also stripped him of his political rights for life.

The court ordered that all of Liang's possessions be seized, and that all money he received from bribes should be handed over to the State treasury.

Liang was found to have embezzled public funds of more than 100 million yuan himself or while working with others as he served as Hegang's mayor and deputy Party secretary from 2013 to 2016, according to the court.

He also used his positions to help individuals and companies land construction projects, facilitate business operations and gain work promotions between 2011 and 2016, the court said. In return, he accepted more than 6.66 million yuan in bribes, it said.

From 2015 to 2016, he also used his power illegally to obtain loans on behalf of enterprises, causing a financial loss of over 60 million yuan, it said.

Liang's personal properties combined are worth nearly 27 million yuan, far more than the income he was receiving, and he could not explain how he was able to obtain them.

The court said that he should be sentenced to death because the amount of money he garnered was "extremely large", and his actions caused huge financial losses and had a serious negative impact on society.

"But given that he confessed to the crimes, exposed others' criminal activities that were later proved to be true and handed over most of his illicit gains during the case handling, we've decided to leniently punish him," the court added.

Under the Criminal Law, if those who receive a suspended death sentence do not commit new crimes during their two-year probation, the sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment. Further commutations will also be allowed if they exhibit good behavior in prison, but the prison term they serve must not be less than 15 years.

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