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December 26, 2012

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Ex-city planner sentenced to 15 years for taking 5m yuan bribes

A FORMER city urban planning official was sentenced to 15 years in prison for taking bribes of 5.04 million yuan (US$807,912), the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court ruled yesterday.

Hu Jun, 46, former deputy director of the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administrative Bureau, was the third land official in Shanghai in the past five years to be sent to prison for corruption.

Local media dubbed Hu a scholarly "Soil God," a name that not only referred to Hu's post-doctoral degree in urban planning but also to his abuse of power in controlling the land.

Hu went to trial in June on charges of accepting bribes of more than 7 million yuan from six companies and individuals when he was in charge of planning in Jing'an District, Chongming County and the municipal planning bureau between March 2002 and last year.

According to court records, his first bribe came from Zhongkai Corporate Group, the developer of Top of City, a residential complex in Jing'an District, when Hu was director of the district's urban planning administration.

Hu took advantage of his position to speed up relocation in the area and issue planning approvals for Zhongkai, prosecutors said.

In return, the developer sold Hu one of the apartments on Dagu Road at 7,800 yuan per square meter while the market price was 11,500 yuan. The developer also sold an apartment at 333 Weihai Road to Hu at a lower than market price, records show.

The court said Hu paid 2.01 million yuan less than ordinary buyers and later sold the apartments for 6.45 million yuan.

During his tenure in Chongming County, Hu was paid 1.82 million yuan by his former college and students at Tongji University for his special help in winning planning projects in Chongming.

In a previous hearing in June, Wu admitted taking 5 million yuan in the past 10 years but denied bribes of another 2 million yuan which he claimed he borrowed to buy an apartment.

The ruling yesterday said Hu was guilty of accepting 5.04 million yuan. According to court records, Wu had returned 4.8 million yuan after he was arrested on March 15.

Hu also will have 2 million yuan of personal assets confiscated.

Last year, Tao Xiaoxing, former deputy director of the Shanghai land bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking 10.45 million yuan in bribes.

In 2008, Yin Guoyuan, Tao's predecessor, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking 35.55 million yuan in bribes and for other crimes.


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