CHINA / National

400 fugitive corrupt officials arrested
Updated: 2006-03-25 17:15

China has arrested over 400 corrupt officials up until the end of February in the country's second nation-wide anti-corruption campaign which began at the start of this year, reported the Democracy & Law Times newspaper.

Afraid of alerting the criminals, the Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security commenced their campaign secretly during the Spring Festival, without any media coverage.

The former vice mayor of Renqiu City in Northern Hebei Provice, Lian Rongguang, who also held the position of the President of the People's Bank of China's Cangzhou Branch in Hebei, was among those arrested. He has been accused of taking bribes of over 1 million yuan, or US$120,000, and embezzling over 3 million yuan, or US$362,000 of public money.

The Chinese Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security have been directed to place information on corrupt officials who have absconded onto their web sites this year. The idea is that any person named on the list may be arrested immediately by regional police offices.

Following information placed on the internet, police in Sichuan Province arrested the former manager of the Dachuan Branch of the Sichuan Changhong Electric Corporation, Zhang Chuanhong, who was on the run for 8 years accused of misappropriating 20 million yuan, or US$ 2.4 million of public money.

Meanwhile, police in central China's Henan Province have captured 28 run-away officials within 20 days with the help of the Internet.

Finance departments at various levels have also allocated funds to back the national campaign. They will, for example, offer rewards to those who provide key information and relevant departments that have performed well during the drive. The northeastern coastal city of Dalian has announced that it will provide rewards of at least 3 thousand yuan, or US$362 to people who provide important information.

Meanwhile, China will step up efforts to pursue corrupt officials who attempt to flee overseas, and to offer reduced sentences to those who surrender to police.

Statistics show that up until the end of February, over 160 have surrendered themselves to police, accounting for 40 percent of the total number of officials arrested in the current campaign.

A report released by China's top anti-corruption watchdog shows that at the end of last year, there were over 4000 fugitive corrupt officials among their registered criminal cases, covering 30 Chinese provinces and cities. The report also reveals that although more corrupt officials have been arrested, the number of corrupt officials that have absconded has continued to rise over the last two years, accounting for half of all the corrupt officials at large.