Thu, Nov 09, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Five judges implicated in Shenzhen graft scandal

AP , SHANGHAI

Five senior judges in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have been arrested in connection with a scandal involving reports of millions of dollars stashed behind air conditioners, toilets and even inside a goldfish pond, a report said yesterday.

The judges include a vice president of the Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court, Pei Hongquan (裴洪泉), three court presidents and a retired judge, according to a report in the newspaper China Democracy and Law News.

The newspaper and other reports said that another 20 judges and lawyers have also been implicated in the same scandal, one of the city's biggest graft scandals so far.

Investigators from the Chinese Communist Party's anti-graft agency found more than 27 million yuan (US$3.4 million) in cash secreted in Pei's home. The money was hidden behind air conditioners and toilets and in the fish pond at Pei's house, said the newspaper, which is affiliated with the quasi-governmental China Law Society.

Pei was an award-winning judge credited with improving the efficiency of the local court, the report said.

Local officials have refused to comment on the case. Telephone calls to local government and court offices went unanswered yesterday.

Earlier reports had said the judges were under investigation.

The China Democracy and Law News report said the case surfaced when prosecutors began investigating ties between the retired judge, Liao Zhaohui (廖昭輝), and an auction house manager.

Both men have been arrested on bribery charges, it said.

Zhang Tinghua (張庭華), president of the city's bankruptcy court, was arrested in June, the report said. It said prosecutors found hundreds of thousands of dollars in Zhang's private car and office.

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