CHINA> Regional
Prison officials busted for inmate money schemes
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-26 09:13

GUANGZHOU: A dozen officials at a local prison have been removed from their posts or detained for cutting deals with inmates.

Maoming prison director Cheng Jiazeng and 10 other officials allegedly abused their authority by concocting money-making schemes with prisoners, said Xu Ke, an official with the Guangdong provincial prison administrative office.

"They are also being punished for allowing prisoners to abuse drugs in prison," Xu said.

The scandal broke after a post at online forum alleged misconduct by Cheng and other officials at the prison. The individual who made the posting did not respond to inquiries.

One dramatic allegation said Chen Jianming, former director of the Dianbai county education authority, paid hospital and prison officials to get a false Hepatitis B report so he could get out of prison.

Chen was sentenced to eight years in jail in early 2002 after he was found guilty of fraud.

The post made 20 other accusations of major abuses of power over the past 10 years.

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Ke Yawu, a former prisoner at Maoming prison, told Outlook Weekly that prison officials accepted money from prisoners who wanted to reduce their sentences.

"It is a common practice. If you want to cut one year from your sentence, you have to give them at least 10,000 yuan," Ke said.

Guangdong provincial authorities of discipline inspection and justice, and the Guangdong prison administrative bureau set up a team in April to investigate Maoming prison.

"But further investigation is still under way since many local officials were involved in the scandal," Xu said.

A big shuffle within the prison's administration has also been conducted, Xu said.

The local government has appointed a new director, a political commissar and five deputy directors in the prison.

The Maoming prison is one of four prisons in the province administered by the local government, not the provincial prison administrative bureau.

China Daily sought comments from the local government, but calls to the Maoming government spokesman went unanswered yesterday.