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June 19, 2012

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Ex-planning official admits taking bribes

A FORMER top urban planning official appeared in court yesterday on charges of taking more than 7 million yuan (US$1.1 million) in bribes.

Prosecutors at Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court said Hu Jun, 46, former deputy director of the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administrative Bureau, accepted bribes from six companies and individuals when he was in charge of planning in Jing'an District, Chongming County and the municipal bureau between March 2002 and last February.

A native of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, Hu graduated from Nanjing University with a degree in urban planning and worked in a postdoctoral center in the Construction and Urban Planning College of Shanghai's Tongji University, becoming an associate professor at the age of 28.

The first bribe was said to have come from Zhongkai Corporate Group, developer of Top of City, a residential complex in Jing'an District, when Hu was director of the district's urban planning administration.

The court hear Hu took advantage of his position to speed up relocation in the area and issue planning approvals for Zhongkai.

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. It also sold an apartment at 333 Weihai Road to Hu at a lower than market price.

Hu told prosecutors he bought the two apartments in the name of his friends because he thought "it would leave a bad influence for an official to buy apartments in places where he worked."

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

After his tenure in Jing'an District, he became deputy chief of Chongming County, still in charge of urban planning affairs, and became a Party committee member of the county in January 2007.

Over a five-year period, Hu is said to have helped Dai Xiaohui, a former Tongji University colleague, to win 14 planning projects in Chongming, with a total contract amount exceeding 8.05 million yuan. He also helped one of his students at Tongji, surnamed Peng, to gain planning projects.

Hu said he was paid 1.82 million yuan for his special help to win the projects.

Hu also accepted 60 millon yuan and US$1,000 from two real estate companies in Chongming and issued approvals to speed up the reconstruction of old residential areas, the court heard.

During yesterday's hearing, Hu admitted taking 5 million yuan in the past 10 years.

Hu said he borrowed the other 2 million on behalf of a former colleague who wanted to buy an apartment.

The court, which did not issue a verdict, said Hu had returned 4.8 million yuan.

Last year, Tao Xiaoxing, former deputy director of the Shanghai Housing, Land and Resources Administrative 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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