CHINA> Regional
6 Guangdong officials punished for gambling
By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-01-10 07:45

GUANGZHOU: Jail terms and administrative punishments have been handed out to six senior officials from Guangdong who used public money to fund their gambling habits, the provincial commission for discipline inspection said on Thursday.

The heaviest sentence was given to Wu Kuixing, former vice-secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Yunfu City Committee, who was jailed for four years.

While on a cruise in Hong Kong on Jan 1, 2004, he is said to have lost thousands of yuan of public money in a single night.

He was also found guilty of losing 520,000 yuan ($76,000) on soccer bets and 70,000 yuan playing mahjong.

Wu embezzled large sums of public money to finance his gambling habit, which is a serious offense, the commission said.

Meanwhile, Huang Pingfang, former vice-secretary of the CPC Zhaoqing City Committee, has been charged with corruption and gambling, the commission said.

He is said to have lost HK$500,000 ($64,000) while gambling in Hong Kong and Macao between 1997 and 2006, and also stands accused of taking bribes totaling 3 million yuan.

Details of his punishment have yet to be announced.

The third official is Chen Zhiqiang, secretary of a branch of the CPC in Foshan, who has been prosecuted for gambling 13 million yuan of public funds between 2005 and 2006.

Also, a three-year jail term was handed down to Huang Guohui, secretary of a Guangzhou village branch of the CPC, who was found to have gambled public money on 33 occasions between 2003 and 2006.

He was also expelled from the Party.

In the remaining cases, an official from Zhuhai has been expelled from the Party for gambling, and one from Zhongshan has been put on probation.

Zhao Zhenhua, vice-secretary of the discipline commission, said on Friday that 53 officials have been investigated following accusations of gambling.

The cases involved a total of 22 million yuan of public money, he said.

The announcement of the jail terms and punishments should be a clear warning to all officials, he said.