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'Brother Watch' to stand trial Friday

Updated: 2013-08-27 21:11
( Xinhua)

XI'AN -- A work safety official in northwest China who was the subject of nationwide outrage after being photographed smiling at the scene of a fatal bus crash last year, will go on trial Friday, a local court said Tuesday.

Yang Dacai, former head of the Shaanxi provincial work safety administration, faces charges of taking bribes and holding a huge amount of property with unidentified sources, the Xi'an Intermediate People's Court said in a statement.

Yang first stirred up condemnations by netizens after he was photographed wearing a broad smile while surveying a traffic accident that left 36 people dead on Aug. 26 last year.

His expression was seen as unsympathetic and aroused wide public indignation. Photos soon surfaced of Yang wearing luxury wristwatches, earning him the nickname of "Brother Watch."

Although Yang claimed he purchased the watches with his own salary, Internet users argued that a public servant could not possibly afford such expensive watches.

After an initial investigation, Yang was dismissed from his position as a member of the Shaanxi Provincial Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, as well as head and CPC chief of the provincial work safety administration, in September 2012.

He was expelled from the CPC and his case transferred to judicial authorities in February this year, according to Shaanxi provincial disciplinary authorities.

The disciplinary authorities then said Yang was engaged in serious disciplinary violations and was suspected of committing crimes during his tenure.