Second Wukan deputy chief detained for bribery

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-3-20 0:13:01

The second deputy chief of Wukan village, South China's Guangdong Province, was detained on Tuesday afternoon for alleged bribery.

Hong Ruichao, deputy chief of the village committee, was under criminal custody on suspicion of taking bribes for public projects in the village, announced the Lufeng city government on its official Sina Weibo on Wednesday.

Hong Ruiqing, sister of the deputy chief, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the bribery took place in 2012 when contractors for the water pipe construction in the village offered 30,000 yuan ($4,839.80) to her brother, but all of it had been returned after a few days.

Another village deputy chief, Yang Semao, also confirmed the bribery, which added to his suspicions as he believed that investigators could have arrested Hong right after the crime.

Hong's detention came after Yang was detained for alleged bribery on March 13. Yang was released on bail the next day to help organize the election of the village's new leadership at the end of this month.

However, the detention stirred heated discussion as some suspected that it was aimed at thwarting the election.

"This is a trap and it is unreasonable. I heard that some members of the village committee who were overthrown by us are trying to get their seats back, but my brother and Yang are working to promote a transparent and fair election," Hong noted.

Wukan grabbed the international headlines in 2011 after residents launched protests against officials over rigged elections, land disputes and corruption.

Both Yang and Hong, who represented villagers in early protests, were elected deputy heads of Wukan at the beginning of 2012 in a re-election of the village committee after a provincial investigation team declared the previous election invalid.

However, the new village committee was also criticized by some villagers and even some representatives during the protests for their slow work in recovering land sold by the former village committee.

In the last two years, more than 5,000 mu (330 hectares) of land determined to have been illegally transferred, allotted or left idle has been returned to the village, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

About 12,000 mu of land was illegally sold and 7,000 mu of recertified land was almost impossible to get back, the village committee told Shanghai TV.

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