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November 30, 2009

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Former justice commits suicide

A FORMER justice from the Higher People's Court of Chongqing in southwest China suspected of taking bribes and possessing unaccounted assets has hanged himself in a detention center.

Wu Xiaoqing, once a member of the court's justice panel and president of the Chongqing Judges College, was found hanging at 1:12pm on Saturday at Chongqing No. 2 Detention Center, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday.

Wu, 57, was put under investigation on June 9 during Chongqing's crackdown on criminal gangs and the officials behind them.

He was referred to prosecutors on November 1 after it was alleged he accepted bribes worth 3.64 million yuan (US$533,161) and had 5.18 million yuan beyond his official earning capacity.

Wu went to a surveillance camera blind spot and hanged himself behind the door of his cell with a drawstring from his underwear at 12:31pm when other inmates were napping, the report said.

Wu was pronounced dead at 3:40pm in hospital.

He was among a number of senior officials from Chongqing's judicial departments being investigated in the crackdown on criminal rings.

His colleague Zhang Tao, then vice director of the court, was put under investigation at almost the same time for allegedly taking bribes.

Wen Qiang, former director of Chongqing's justice department, was seized on August 7. Wen faces charges related to rape, money laundering, concealing the proceeds of crime, firearms, usury, forging official and corporate seals, prostitution and bribery.

Wen's sister-in-law, organized crime boss Xie Caiping, was jailed for 18 years after a first-instance trial early this month.

Peng Changjian, deputy director of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, was put under investigation on September 4.

Mao Jianping, deputy chief of the No. 1 Branch of Chongqing People's Procuratorate, allegedly offered gangs protection during criminal investigations.

Chen Honggang, traffic unit chief of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau, faces the same charges as Mao.


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