China charges 17 who "rescued" graft suspect

Updated: 2006-11-29 15:53

Beijing - Seventeen people face trial in Beijing after they "rescued" a man who was being interrogated by anti-corruption authorities, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Wednesday.

The 17, who were charged with "disturbance of social order", appeared in Beijing Haidian court on Tuesday for the start of the trial, the paper said.

It said the defendants include relatives, friends and the mistress of Yao Chuanrui, a former manager of a construction company who has been charged with embezzling 70 million yuan ($8.93 million) of company funds.

Yao had secretly contacted the defendants earlier in the year, months after he had been taken into custody, telling them where he was being detained and urging them to "rescue" him, the newspaper said.

"I have been suffering a lot here," it quoted Yao as saying in the note, sent by a guard he had bribed.

"Please find some people to get me out of here," the note said.

The defendants helped Yao escape from the secure hotel where he was being held, but they were arrested days later, according to the account.

Yao faces charges of fraud and embezzlement.

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