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February 6, 2010

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Warden admits taking money to favor inmate

A FORMER Shanghai warden pleaded guilty yesterday to accepting bribes worth 1.76 million yuan (US$257,800) by offering preferential treatment to an inmate.

Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court heard the case yesterday without announcing a sentence.

Prosecutors urged at least 10 years' imprisonment.

Weng Liming, the former deputy director of Shanghai Qingpu Prison, had bought five apartments below the market price through a real-estate company whose former boss was behind bars in the Qingpu prison.

In return, Weng granted the prisoner, Du Jinxiang, priority treatment -- lighter penal labor, a reduction of his prison time and permission to leave the prison to visit relatives.

Weng's illegal behavior came to light last year when the city government was soliciting public opinion about his promotion as a vice director of the city's Prison Administrative Bureau.

"I didn't realize I was taking advantage of my duty to make profits," Weng told the court.

"I thought it was different from directly receiving cash and properties. Buying apartments at a low price through personal relationship was very popular."

The current leaders of the real-estate company, Yang Jianguo and Zhu Zhiqing, were introduced to Weng through friends and asked him to take good care of Du, who was serving time at the Qingpu prison; Du's crime was not explained in court. And Weng did.

At their request, Weng altered Du's job from cement work to the clinic.

Weng also illegally reduced Du's penalty, on the excuse that Du had earned the reward by introducing business to the prison plant.

And, contrary to the rules, Weng allowed Du to visit his relatives twice within a year.

Weng argued that the Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection didn't explicitly bar officials from buying apartments below the market price until 2007, after his alleged crimes took place.


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