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August 9, 2013

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Judges caught up in prostitution row sacked by city legislature

Three judges and a discipline official with the city’s top court caught up in a prostitution scandal were removed from their posts yesterday by the Shanghai People’s Congress, the city’s legislature.

The judges, Chen Xueming, Zhao Minghua, Wang Guojun, and the discipline official, Ni Zhengwen, served at the Shanghai Higher People’s Court.

The four officials were found soliciting services from prostitutes at the Hengshan Resort hotel on the night of June 9.

But the scandal came to light only last Thursday.

Chen and Zhao were president and vice president of the No. 1 civil court. Wang was vice president of the No. 5 civil court and Ni was the deputy director of the discipline inspection team and inspection office of the higher court.

Yin Yicui, chairwoman of the congress’s standing committee, asked the judicial system to learn a lesson from the incident, check loopholes in the system and rebuild public confidence.

“A judge is seen as a symbol of equity and justice,” said Han Zheng, Shanghai’s Party secretary, at the meeting. “It is intolerable for some undisciplined judges to damage the image of the judicial system in Shanghai,” he said.

Zhao, Chen and Ni were expelled from the Party on Tuesday while Wang was handed a two-year probation.

A whistleblower, previously identified as Ni Peiguo, uploaded a video footage online which showed prostitutes entering their rooms.

He claimed he began following Zhao after he lost a suit in which he was forced to sell his apartment to pay debts. He suspected Zhao of manipulating the verdict because the plaintiff was the husband of Zhao’s cousin.

He said it was by accident that he uncovered the alleged misdeeds of the officials.

Seeking revenge

While many netizens praised Ni for the way he went about to get his revenge, he told a reporter from that he did not want other people to follow his path. “I am not a hero. I am just a desperate man and used my own way to get my revenge,” Ni said.

He then told the reporter that Ni was his friend’s name and his surname was Chen.

After losing the suit, Chen filed complaints to many departments but did not make any headway. He also went to Beijing six times for petitioning, which didn’t work either. According to the report, Chen had reported to discipline authorities before he uploaded the video online, which soon went viral.

He handed over the 30-hour long video evidence to them.

Chen said he told the security guard that he had lost something and used a pair of secret photographing glasses, a cellphone and an iPad to make a copy the surveillance video.

It took Chen more than a year to collect the evidences.


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