The top official in Chuxiong's prefectural government was removed from his post Friday and is under investigation for suspected violation of the official code of conduct, dereliction of duty, accepting bribes, drug use and other breaches of law.
Up until his dismissal, Yang Hongwei (杨红卫), 47, was the governor of Chuxiong and the assistant secretary of the prefectural party standing committee. In addition to sacking Yang, the Yunnan provincial standing committee also stated at a special meeting convened on Friday that it would remove Chuxiong's deputy governor, Lü Linlin (吕琳麟), who is suspected of colluding with Yang.
So far the committee has not released specific details about Yang and Lü's alleged crimes, such as from whom they may have received bribes or what type of illegal drugs they may have been using. Yang was arrested by police on April 27, a day before the announcement of his firing. Both suspects are in custody and will remain so until authorities complete a formal investigation.
Some media reports suggest that the scandal in Chuxiong may just be beginning. "This incident has been all the talk among official circles in Chuxiong," an unnamed inside source told the Yunnan News Report newspaper. "But this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are going to be a lot more people who get caught."
If the investigation in Chuxiong does widen, it could join a growing list of high-profile corruption cases in Yunnan over the last decade.
In 2007, former Kunming deputy mayor Hu Xing was sentenced to life in prison for taking more than 40 million yuan while in charge of Kunming's road network.
Four years earlier former Yunnan governor Li Jiating (李嘉廷) was sentenced to death for taking more than 18 million yuan in bribes. His sentence was eventually commuted to life in prison.
Li was back in the news earlier this year, when a nationwide scandal centered around the French/Vietnamese businesswoman and seductress Li Wei (李薇), an associate of the disgraced ex-governor. Li Wei may be best known for helping Li Jiating run a seven million yuan "leisure boat" paid for by the ex-governor's mistress and operated in Yangzonghai Lake, near Kunming.
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