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Guangxi nails diary scandal official

By YAN JIE (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-03-15 06:47
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BEIJING: An official at the center of a sex and corruption scandal was arrested on Saturday, turning another page in the "Diary Gate" scandal that began when a diary attributed to him - and detailing his misconducts - was splashed across the Internet.

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Han Feng, 53, has been removed from his job as division chief of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region's tobacco bureau for "committing serious faults that violated laws and Party discipline," said the bureau.

He has been removed from the Party and is now under arrest on charges of taking bribes totaling 482,000 yuan ($71,000) between 2002 and February this year and accepting an apartment worth 300,000 yuan from several contractors, according to the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region procuratorate.

Han could face a sentence of at least 10 years in jail if convicted.

A diary thought to be his was widely circulated on the Internet in early February. The diary was swarming with graft-related activities and long-running affairs with five women, sparking a manhunt for those involved.

An analysis of the diary showed that Han, as former head of the tobacco bureaus of two cities in Guangxi, had accepted bribes seven times from 2007 to mid-2008, according to the China Youth Daily.

The official announcement did not say how Han's diary had been released online nor did it detail his affairs with former colleagues. It also did not disclose the identities of any other people involved.

It is speculated that an ex-husband of Han's mistress, his wife or one of his competitors had masterminded "Diary Gate", the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

His fall added to a series of similar cases in which online postings, mostly published by anonymous Internet users, revealed official's wrongdoings, prompting an outcry among netizens and drawing the attention of the country's discipline-inspection and judicial departments.