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August 22, 2009

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Former police chief faces second graft inquiry

CHINESE Authorities began an investigation yesterday into corruption accusations brought by 103 police officers against their ex-chief in northwestern China's Huxian County of Shaanxi Province.

The police officers at the Huxian Public Security Bureau posted an article on last weekend, complaining that their former bureau director, Wen Zhigang, misappropriated their funds for use in a bureau housing project.

It is unusual for police officers to air grievances online.

"An investigation team has arrived in the county," Duan Yaming, a government spokesman of Xi'an, the provincial capital that oversees Huxian, said yesterday.

"The team will announce the investigation results as soon as possible," he said.

It is the second inquiry into the case, according to a statement of the Xi'an Public Security Bureau. In August last year, the Xi'an bureau carried out an investigation into similar accusations, but did not find any wrongdoing, it said.

"Because the recent online article listed new accusations, we decided to re-investigate the case," the statement said.

According to the online accusations, Wen did not invite a bid before the construction of the police officers' housing project several years ago, and Wen directly entrusted the project to one of his friends.

Wen allegedly misappropriated more than 40 million yuan (US$5.9 million) his subordinates raised to build the apartments and 5 million yuan of discounts promised by the construction company.

In addition, Wen was given a car worth 360,000 yuan after the project was finished, which was believed by his officers to be a bribe.


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