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Officials caught taking junket

OFFICIALS of a village committee in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, were caught taking an overseas junket with family members last year.

A netizen made the claim on an online post with many accompanying pictures, Shanghai Morning Post reported today.

The netizen claimed the trip cost 90,000 yuan (US$13,235) of public money.

Those officials are from Ganglian Village of Lishui Town in Foshan City. The town government confirmed the trip yesterday but said it needed to investigate further to see if family members were taken.

The netizen, who identified him as "qq6543210", claimed the officials, including the director of the village committee, village group leaders and sorority director, took a trip to Thailand in early 2008.

The pictures he posted showed Thailand's tourist attractions, although the invoice for reimbursement said the trip was for study, according to the report.

He hopes authorities will launch an investigation. His post attracted nearly 20,000 hits, the report said.

Luo Yuliu, director of the Lishui Town publicity office, told the newspaper yesterday the government has a strict approval system for junkets.

"We are now investigating whether the group trip had finished all procedures and the definition of the trip," he said.

The netizen also posted an IOU to show the village committee lent 200,000 yuan of public money to an individual without any collateral or charging interest.

Luo said yesterday the money was lent to a village enterprise facing financial difficulties in 2006. He admits it was an irregular practice but said all the money had been repaid.

"No official made any profit through the loan," Luo said.


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